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Paradise, if not for the wind and hail

July 6, 2011

I’ve never enjoyed spring in the Midwest much. I dislike the excitement of violent storms.

My anxiety about in the Panhandle was somewhat mollified when I spoke with a meteorologist yesterday who said that because of the drier air here, any tornadoes we get tend to be smaller than can generally be expected further east. So, my beloved low-humidity summers have an additional benefit!

Not that the threat of severe storms can be dismissed. As the old farmer at the Farm And Ranch Museum said, upon our very first visit here, “it would be paradise if not for the wind and the hail.”

Too true.

Last summer, our first as homeowners, we filed our first insurance damage claim – from a hailstorm. I have never experienced hail like I have here in the Panhandle. I should have asked that meteorologist if we have a higher risk of damaging hail here than further east. Based on the fact that the car dealerships here all have shelters for their cars, I’m thinking we must.

This past Saturday and Monday nights brought tornado warnings.

The lightning on Saturday flashed purple.






Alien zeppelin cloud from Saturday.

Lots of movement in the clouds Monday.

The mammatus clouds felt like doom Monday as they drooped closer and closer to our heads.

While the clouds were pretty scary here, we got no significant hail or rain at our house.

Other people were not so lucky.

Some of the unlucky people included my friends, the Manvilles, who sell beef, chicken and eggs from their ranch at the Scottsbluff farmers market. Their pastured chickens did not fare well. 480 of them died in the storm when a couple of their shelters were wrecked and the pasture flooded during 45 minutes of hail and heavy rain and strong wind.

Another member of a farm family I spoke with mentioned the young families trying to get a start in agriculture who might possibly be financially ruined by the weather of late – they might have to drop out of the profession. While resigned to the risks of weather, she said the only reason many farm families take those risks are for the benefits of clean air and a safe environment for their children.

Sure, a hailstorm may damage my house, and I may take a financial hit, but at least it’s not directly hitting my source of livelihood.

I could not be a farmer. My anxiety-prone personality would surely cause me to crumble under the stress of weather events I could not control.

There’s a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms here in the Panhandle again today, said the guy on the radio this morning. “Some of those storms may be severe.”

Here’s hoping, for the sake of farmers and ranchers, that they aren’t so severe.

Copyright 2011 by Katie Bradshaw

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2011 11:55 am

    Being a farmer’s daughter, I witnessed and still witness that the conversations are always about the weather!


  1. Hail in the garden, holes in the leaves | SCB Citizen

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