FIRST PERSON | IRONTON, Mo. — The end of the world didn’t come as predicted by some religious fundamentalists on May 21, but in Missouri and some Midwestern states, the world seemed to end for some unlucky residents. In particular, at least 89 deaths have been reported, with areas such as Joplin and metro St. Louis experiencing both damage and injuries.
Severe weather isn’t uncommon in this time of year in Missouri; however, the state has been through more rain, tornadoes, flooding and other severe weather in the last few months than residents, including myself, can remember.
Not only was the St. Louis airport hit directly by a tornado in the last few months, but severe flooding caused the state to blow up levees in order to prevent damage to cities along the Mississippi River’s path. This kind of unpredictable weather has caused many residents to become gun-shy and unsure of what weather will bring. Whether the result of natural weather patterns or climate change, my area has in particular seen unusual tornado activity and heavy rains. Just recently, in my own lake development, damage to people’s homes, common areas and even to streets haven’t even been repaired because of ongoing bad weather.
Personally, as an avid gardener, we have seen our land saturated and expect a much later harvest than usual. Looking into the immediate future, it appears that Missouri residents will have to stay in or work around the severe weather expected. In particular, because of a stationary front predicted, we will probably have fairly significant rains off and on all week. This compounds the cleanup efforts from the violent storms that occurred just today.
In my area, in addition to recovering from storms, residents try to brace themselves in respect to future storms. With tornadoes appearing to hit indiscriminately and causing widespread damage and loss of life, it makes sense that people would be on guard. In the last few years, my own area has been affected by tornadoes and flooding that we are still trying to recover from as a community. In addition, I live in a rural area that doesn’t have all the emergency resources that the “city” (St. Louis) has, so every storm creates pressure on the small community I am part of and others that are nearby.
So every severe weather warning that occurs means I will go with my pets into the bathroom in our one story home when a tornado alarm goes off or I have to watch the dry creek next my house fill and rise with water hoping it doesn’t get too high. However, the worst part of the severe weather that have occurred in the last few weeks is that preparation, while needed, doesn’t always protect in such an unstable weather environment.
With thunderstorms predicted Monday and Tuesday and chance of thunderstorms for the rest of the week, the possibility of severe weather is a reality. We can only hope that Memorial Weekend will involve at least a little bit of sunshine to enjoy or help us recover from the latest round of storms.