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Pat’s Bits & Pieces– Be careful what you wish for

Pat Maurer, Review Correspondent

pat7-14-05Wow, was that a storm!

Tuesday evening a series of thunderstorms roared through the area and our drought-ridden lawn and trees got two and a half inches of rain in the space of just a few hours.

I saw on television today at noon that it was even worse west of us, where McBain reported almost four inches of rain in a little over an hour.

Our weather around here certainly wasn’t gentle. Lightning hit so close to the house once, I thought a tree in the yard must have been struck, but I looked all over and haven’t seen any damage yet from it.

We had been wishing for a rainy day, but that isn’t exactly what we had in mind. At least it didn’t cause the river to rise significantly. We had enough of that earlier this spring, didn’t we?

The storm was even fiercer south of Clare. Lisa and the girls were headed back home after Freshman Orientation at the school when they drove into a deluge. She said it was raining so hard on Stevenson Lake Road that she could only see one car length down the road and was forced to drive about 20 miles per hour for the last few miles until she arrived at her house, which was (you guessed it) without power.

“When we could see anything, the trees were bending over, it was raining sideways and we thought we were driving into a tornado,” she told me this afternoon. Pretty scary.

Is it too much to ask for a gentle all-day rain?

We certainly seem subject to a lot of weather extremes this year. Our west they are still battling that huge fire near Yellowstone with conditions so dry it is a tinderbox. Down south they have all the rain anyone could need – and more. In fact the weather all over the country seems to be leaning towards “extreme” lately.

I remember one fall day – in 1986 I believe, when we got nine inches of rain in one day. You can bet the river rose that time. In fact that one drove us out when the water came right into this office and the garage. We ended up with new wiring, new insulation and new carpeting after that time.

Now the weather is heating up again and the humidity is in the 80s. I guess the “dog days of summer” are back.

Webster defines “dog days” as “the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere; a period of stagnation or inactivity.

The ancients (both Greeks and Romans) believed that the hot summer weather came because this time of year the “dog star” Sirius rises and sets with the sun and adds to its heat. In the constellation “Canis.

Although we now know the warmest period of summer is the result of the earth’s tilt, the name remains.
Some folklore says this time of year was the most likely for dogs to go mad.

According to Wikepedia.org, “many people believe the phrase is in reference to the conspicuous laziness of domesticated dogs (who are in danger of overheating with too much exercise) during the hottest days of the summer. When speaking of ‘Dog Days’ there seems to be a connotation of lying or ‘dogging’ around, or being ‘dog tired’ on these hot and humid days. Although these meanings have nothing to do with the original source of the phrase, they may have been attached to the phrase in recent years due to common usage or misunderstanding of the origin of the phrase.”

I think late-August days are anything but ‘lazy.’ The approach of the end of summer signals a rush to fit in the last days of fun or vacation before the cool weather arrives again and the youngsters all go back to school.

Whatever the source, this year’s dog days do seem to be some of the steamiest days of the year.

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