« Western Michigan Weather News

Ag. Weather Outlook 2-07-2014

by Tim Abramowski

One thing you’ll have to give winter weather – it doesn’t often make permanent marks on human infrastructure.  Yes – in extreme cases you’ll see a snow-collapsed roof or an interstate median safety fence destroyed by a sliding vehicle, an ice-laden tree draped over a parked car or endless potholes.  But most of the time it snows…or, as in the case this winter, it snows and snows and snows some more – then it melts.  A tornado or hurricane leaves big time gouges across farms, cities - anything in the way.  Google Earth is a good way to view fairly recent gouges from above.  In the program’s search field type ‘Moore, Oklahoma’ and you’ll see the brown diagonal line of earth churned up as an EF-5 twister scoured the land last May.  Along the periphery of the path of total destruction there are blue rectangles made by canvas covering buildings that mostly survived but lost parts of roofs.  Same thing happens when you visit Joplin, Missouri or Greensburg, Kansas, or Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  These gouges are years old but still visible from overhead.  Hurricane Sandy’s rampage remains clearly defined on the New Jersey and Long Island shore.  Fresher still is November’s typhoon destruction in the central Philippines.  The planet’s taken a few huge weather hits of late.  These views, while in no way doing justice to the personal trauma generated by the storms, do give you a sense of the immense power the atmosphere can unleash.  Our current round of snow and cold is just an infinitesimal bit of it.

Rick Shields