Ah, the weather..."Like grains of sand through the hourglass...." Wait, no. That is constant, steady and dependable.
Let's try this, "The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it." ~Patrick Young
I am also a fan of the oft quoted, but never attributed, "If you don't like the weather in Chicago, just wait a minute, it will change!"
Then there is the one true forecast, "Weather forecast for tonight: dark." ~George Carlin
I think Mr. Carlin provided the most accurate of forecasts. I have been thinking a lot about forecasts this week. As many of you know and have seen in this blog, at a significant expense, I subscribe to a very targeted and what I would consider to be extremely useful, private forecasting service. Well, many of us in my local forecast area (Naperville to Western Springs and Glen Ellyn to Darien), had been told earlier this week we should consider building an ark. Storms of what seemed to be forecast for biblical proportions were just around the corner. I may have even heard a call to, 'Batten down the hatches!' I was so sure this was a done deal, I did something I rarely do. I told the crews to wait for my call prior to coming in the next morning.
I was awake at 3am to make sure the rain started to fall as I had been warned. I was awake at 4am to make sure the rain had started to fall. I was awake at 5am (okay, that's just normal), but still no rain. I tracked the radar (thank goodness for smart phones and weather apps!). By 6am I was on the phone, all but sure if I told the crews to come in, the clouds would part and a deluge would ensue. I told them to them to come in anyway, then I called them back and told them to stay home, then at 7am, I made the call. Be here at 8:30. Let's get to work! Well it wasn't exactly 8:30, but it rained that morning, nothing like the forecasters said, but it rained. It rained that afternoon. That was closer to the forecast, but it came in bursts. They were cold, heavy bursts, as I was caught in them with little or no cover. But no major flooding. We all got very wet. We ended up getting almost a full day in. We were close to staying on schedule and by the end of the week, we should be caught up.
Then the storms finally showed up as predicted. That evening it was raining sideways and the wind was howling! Like you, I worried about the one tree that is kind of close to the house. I was wondering if my sump pump would keep up. I thought about setting the alarm again to check it at 2am. Fortunately, I never had to feel the panic of being awakened by the tornado siren. Plenty of folks did though. Every time we have these epic storms, I think of those folks further out that had to deal once again with extreme conditions. I often think what a pain in the butt it is to deal with our weather. Then I remember an old children's book I had decades ago, "It Could Always be Worse" by Margot Zemach. Its an old Yiddish Folk Tale. Unfortunately for many, it was far worse. I know how fortunate we are to live close to a big city. It really does keep the most extreme weather at bay. I grew up in a small, suburban/rural community in Ohio. I know what a tornado or other extreme weather can really do. I know what weather related loss can look like. When I was in my 20's and had my first landscape company, I had a client call and ask if, "Jon, can you come over get my house out from under this damn tree.?" It took us about three hours and a lot of effort, but we made it happen. It was fun and challenging and in the end, my client was fortunate to not have significant damage. A 2 degree change in the angle of that tree falling and it could have been a nightmare. We don't always realize just how lucky we are.
This week I was cursing the forecasters. I felt cheated that we had to start our day off in such a wacky manner. I was really upset and then I read the news and saw the images form those areas that got it worse. I thought of the community of Washington, Illinois that got hit hard a couple of years ago and then hit again less than 12 months later. I thought about the times my hometown got hit and the community down the way from my parents house that all but lost their high school. Then I put it in perspective. I lost about an hour and a half of my time, others lost everything. I'll try to keep those folks in mind when I complain about the weather. It could always be worse. I do know one thing though, tonight it will be dark and tomorrow, well, we have to leave that to the forecasters...