Fire and Ice

Mother Nature seems to be a bit crabby these days and is taking it out on the agricultural community.

It started with the Xanto blizzard — called an historic blizzard — dropping anywhere from 2 inches to more than 2 feet of snow in some states and bringing with it freezing rain, thunder and lightning in other stats. The storm covered 16 states and it looks like Wisconsin won the largest snowfall total with 33 inches in Amherst.

I can’t even image getting 33 inches of snow in one event.

To top it off, wind gusts in some states were in excess of 70 mph. Luckily, the storm wasn’t a surprise and many ranchers were able to prepare for it.

Unlike the blizzard, farmers and ranchers didn’t have time to prepare for wildfires. While Xanto was dropping much needed-moisture in some states, wildfires were ravaging dry, windy areas in Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida and Colorado.

There are two articles in this week’s magazine one about the fires in Oklahoma and another about a large wildfire in Colorado.

My heart goes out to everyone impacted by the blizzard and wildfires.

Unfortunately next week might not be any better as Accuweather is predicting the biggest severe storm outbreak of the year in the central United States. You can expect strong wind, hail, isolated flash flooding and tornadoes from central Texas to Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.

I guess we had better batten down the hatches.

I have to admit though, being a journalist, I am curious about tornadoes and have been known to grab my camera and run outside if I hear of one near me.

When I was young, I photographed one that struck about 40 miles from our house. It was a huge tornado that lifted railroad tracks off the ground. At the time I was riding my bike up our driveway and, as soon as I saw it I ran to the house for my camera.

I have also been known to climb on rooftops and drive through storms looking for tornadoes.

But for the sake of everyone in this storm’s path, lets hope that Mother Nature has an attitude change and that there is no dangerous weather next week. ❖