Mike Hall: Mother Nature is furious with us

Contact Mike Hall at mhall19@cox.net.

As The Kingston Trio warned us in a song about a man hiding in the Everglades marshes, “If the ‘skeeters don’t get him then the gators will.”


Now it would be, “If the tornados don’t get us, then the earthquakes will.”

Is anyone left who doesn’t believe that Mother Nature is mad at us?

I submit the following evidence.

Labor Day weekend found us in Portland, Ore., for the wedding of Chris Schulz, of Topeka, to Amy Kim, of Junction City. The weather was unusually warm for Portland — upper 90s.

The worst came as we were loading the car for the trip to the Portland airport on Tuesday. What looked like snowfall was actually tiny bits of ash carried on the wind from nearby forest fires that were destroying thousands of acres.

The sky was dark — about as dark as the recent solar eclipse as seen from Topeka. Airport workers were wearing health-protecting face masks.

The fires didn’t get as much national news coverage as usual for an obvious reason. The big weather news was being made in Texas, Louisiana and Florida by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma — both described as “record breaking.”

Oregonians have more to worry about than just wildfires. We spent a day driving to the coast where we had lunch in Astoria and visited the spot where Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805-1806 before beginning their trek back east across the continent to St. Louis.

We were still well inland when we began seeing highway signs warning us we were entering a tsunami danger area. Scientists have established a line demarking how far inland a huge ocean wave could cause danger and destruction.

It’s a sign I have never seen in Kansas.

Still, none of that compares with the destruction and tragedies caused by those hurricanes.

CNN had a report that it had sent samples of the Houston floodwater to a laboratory for analysis. What they found was large amounts of bacteria and other toxic substances. Not enough to cause an epidemic, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Anyone wading in that water who got some in the mouth or in any break or cut in the skin was in danger of contracting a disease.

CNN reported that exposure to the water could result in skin rashes, ear, nose and throat problems, and conjunctivitis. But the occasional stomach bug or respiratory infection may be more likely.

Much of the misery hasn’t even been seen yet. My friend Larry Jones, who lives near Houston, escaped the worst of the flooding but has been sending daily email updates.

One day he sent out this advice to others in his area: “What you should be doing NOW is stocking up on Deep Woods Off with 25 percent DEET; because in about another 10 days you won’t be able to walk outside 24/7 without losing a least a pint of blood, and OFF will be in as short supply as bread was last week!”

Contact Mike Hall at mhall19@cox.net.



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