Mother Nature ready to flex her weather muscles

Monday, March 11, 2019

We’ve just adjusted the clocks to allow for the earth’s tilt toward spring in the northern hemisphere, but winter is not ready to release its grasp.

McCook is on the edge of a winter storm warning for Thursday, but we’re in a flood watch starting Tuesday evening, with heavy rain predicted to create runoff problems, especially because the ground is still frozen and unable to soak up the water.

While most of us were worrying about losing an hour of sleep Saturday night, Southwest Public Power District crews were putting in long hours restoring power to a large part of the corner of the state, created when a substation south of Wauneta had to be shut off.

We all expect the lights to come on every time we flip the switch, regardless of high winds, blizzards or downpours, and we should appreciate those who keep the power coming.

The same goes for those who keep the roads open or the water coming to our taps, despite nasty winter weather.

The forecast may change before the rain arrives Tuesday and Wednesday, but floods are nothing to be taken lightly in Southwest Nebraska, as anyone who is familiar with area history knows, particularly the infamous 1935 flood.

Hurricanes and tornadoes get all the attention, and rightfully so, but flash floods deserve respect. In fact, from 1900 through 2016, general floods were the second leading cause of fatalities in the United States. Hurricanes claimed 16,134 lives over than 116-year period, general floods 8,458 and convective storms 8,185. Heat waves claimed 4,801, ground movements 2,826 and forest fires 1,249.

While spring will officially arrive in nine days, we need to be ready for some serious winter weather in the meantime, especially if we have travel plans to the north and west. And, be aware that flash floods are possible, and can thunderstorms and tornadoes be far behind?

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