Since the end of last week, folks here in this neck of the woods have been worried about Alberto.
Though the storm never reached tropical storm status, we wondered what the effects were that we might see. Wind? Heavy rain? Tornadoes, even?
As I sit here just before noon on Tuesday, we’ve seen little but the rain. And, although the rain at times has been heavy, it hasn’t been flooding rain or what you might call inundating.
In fact, few of us had to make any large adjustments to our Memorial Day plans except to move them under shelter or perhaps cut them a bit short.
We should consider ourselves lucky. Have you seen what’s happening in Ellicott City, Maryland? The rains in that area seem to have set in and the streets of the city have become raging rivers, trapping inhabitants inside until it recedes enough for them to leave. Thirty rescues were carried out through Memorial Day morning and one National Guardsman, called in to help with the rescue effort, is now missing. Buildings have given way and cars have stacked against one another in the brown waters of the record-high Patapsco River.
What’s worse is this flooding comes only two years after Ellicott City had its first bout with high water, which left two dead and caused buildings to crumble. Some in Ellicott City say this time it’s worse. The water level is more than a half-foot higher in the river and a shield of rain from the remnants of Alberto is expected in the area.
But humans, except under catastrophic circumstances, can deal with rain.
Molten rock? Not so much.
Fissures bringing lava to the surface have been the norm in the area around Volcanoes National Park for several weeks now. Tuesday morning, U.S. Geological Survey reported a 4.5-magnitude quake happened around 2 a.m. near the Kilauea summit, immediately following a large eruption that sent an ash plume 15,000 feet into the sky.
What does Kilauea hold in store?
In 1924, explosive events at the summit lasted for two and a half weeks and ash reached as high as 20,000 feet above sea level.
Scientists say they’re using the 1924 event as something of a baseline to determine how long this volcanic event might last and how strong eruptions could be.
What it boils down to is that the skies in a state we usually recognize as a paradise may soon be raining hell.
Mother Nature, when she musters her might, can be an awesome thing to see. But, in those same cases, she is a lady you want to admire from afar.
And your heart goes out to those who, through no fault of their own, encounter her accumulated wrath.
So, I’ll take a subtropical storm. I’ll take Alberto. Let’s just be thankful we don’t have brown rivers raging in our streets or our ground isn’t oozing molten lava or shooting it and ash into the sky.
And let’s remember those unlucky souls who, simply because of where they choose to live, must endure those frightening circumstances.