Our changing weather a surprise to many

Published 11:48 pm Saturday, March 1, 2014

No one expected the harsh weather we have been experiencing this winter, especially in the northern and northwestern states. If this is what global warming has become it is a surprise to a lot of people. There are record amounts of snow in several states and it is still going on in a lot of places. Seeing the nightly news with all the cars and trucks that have spun out of control, and the people unable to go out for several days should make us glad we live down south.

Other serious problems brought by the snow and ice are falling trees that damage houses or the ice on the wiring that brings electricity into the homes. One news lady said a half inch of ice on the wires amounted to 150 pounds of weight between the poles. It must be terrible to have to live day after day without electricity.

One solution to that problem could be what the Tennessee Valley Authority did to the wiring supplying homes in the area of north Alabama. Several big subdivisions in Florence, Ala., had all the wiring installed underground, so that poles were not needed to hold the wiring. Those subdivisions had street lights but since the wiring to them was all underground the weather had very little effect on the electricity for those homes. Some claim that won’t work but it surely did in two areas we lived in for more than 15 years. That might be a solution for some of the northern states if they could figure out how TVA did it in Alabama.

Another form of heat for some buildings was their indoor lights. One office building had something like 15 floors and all the lights were left on night and day. It made for a bright show at night. When some residents complained that they didn’t understand why they were left on, the manager sent a letter to the paper and said the lights provided some 60 percent of the heat they needed, so it was just another heating idea.

When heat pumps were starting to be available for homes, one builder in the area built most of the homes in one subdivision and all were fixed with a heat pump that worked great until the snow and ice came. Then they found that the heat pump didn’t work if the outside temperature was 38 degrees or lower. The contractors came back and added electric heat to the air-conditioner-heat pump device and that solved the problem. Pretty soon all the heat pumps came with electric heating built in.

This has been a strange year weather wise, with some areas with so much rain the streets flooded, other areas so dry their crops would not grow. The flooding is a real bad problem, and when all that snow up north begins to melt a lot of our southern areas will be flooded for a period of time and that will take some getting used to. Presently our part of the world here in the south has been blessed with weather we can live with and let’s all pray for it to continue. Some of the island countries have been swept with hurricanes, tidal waves or other floods, and that has often been really bad for the families, especially the small children. We may never see that in our coastal states.

It is often a wonder if the birds and wild animals can foresee the bad weather and prepare for it. We know they do prepare for the cold weather by growing a thicker fur. Some of the animals, such as the birds, do move to warmer places. There are some robins that have started appearing in our area, so they are ready for the warmer times. Some of our local birds, such as blue jays, wrens, sparrows and woodpeckers, very seldom leave.

One mocking bird has lived in a shrub in our front yard for two or three years and he never leaves. He comes up out of the bush every morning and if it’s too cold or rain is falling he just goes back down in the holly bush and waits. The birds and animals are born with the instinct to be prepared for the changes in the weather; it would profit us humans to adopt some of their ideas.

We have been blessed over the years with ways to survive the harsh weather and should thank our Good Lord for that blessing.

May he bless us all today.