Friday, August 12, 2011

A Puddle!!! Really!!!

Credit: Google pictures

Every time I go outside, I think of the years I was manager of a floor covering business. Women would drive me crazy matching color tones. It could have been so much easier here, especially if the shopper was into earth-tones. They could have more easily described the exact shade they sought. The lawn is earth-tone. The trees are earth-tone. The tall grasses are a lighter shade earth-tone than the short grasses. Each shrub is a different earth-tone. And evergreens are everbrowns.

But I found something in the backyard yesterday morning called a puddle. It’s the first one we’ve had since March, definitely, and it may be the first one this year. Northwest Oklahoma, like much of Texas, is in extreme draught, and while this little shower is welcome, it will do nothing to change the shortage. I doubt it will even run into the streams and creeks for the wildlife, but will most likely all be absorbed where it landed.

We almost never get normal systemic rain in this part of the county where a system comes in and brings saturating rain that lasts for a couple days. All of our rain is the byproduct of storms, often violent and damaging. Locally, even such rain will most often never reach the ground, but is evaporated into the air as it falls.  The other day we had storms come through that brought high straight-line hurricane-force winds, the highest being clocked at 98 mph. Trees were broken and toppled, power lines taken down, commercial signs and billboards destroyed, tractor-trailers flipped, roofs pealed off, and restaurants like Sonic and gas stations with covered islands had their steel awnings crumpled into rubble. The power lines near Lahoma, OK, were taken down, leaving us with no lights, refrigeration, air conditioning or fans well into the night, and most of the highway signs along Rt. 412 were bent over about 40-degrees. While this was going on, we looked at the radar. We were in a severe thunderstorm warning box, and our area was covered with bright red, orange and yellow indicating a heavy downpour. We got a few large drops that gave the street a reflective sheen for about ten minutes before it too was evaporated. Everything else disappeared before it reached the ground. All it did was temporarily raise our humidity from a mid-twenty to low-fifty percentage level, but yesterday morning, the ground was actually wet.

This shower was welcome, but was only symbolic unless we get a lot more rain to follow. The loss just in our local area has to run into the millions of dollars. We feel bad having lost hundreds of dollars in killed landscaping shrubs and our broken house foundation, but farmers cattle ranchers have faired much worse, as have many others. Ranchers have had to sell off most or all of their herds because there is not water for them, and no grass for them to graze on. One rancher we saw interviewed basically lost his life’s work when he had to auction off a herd of cattle that had taken him forty years to build. Bottom line? An extreme draught can cause a lot more problems than not being able to go paddling.

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