Calm Before the Storm

[By Mark Creekwater Dorazio]

The first time I did a long long-distance walk was during 1991, when I walked from Delaware to St. Louis, Missouri, and then several more days to Hannibal, Missouri, where Mark Twain grew up.

On my way back from Hannibal to St. Louis, there was a fierce thunderstorm, one of the most amazing weather systems that I have ever experienced. It was during the afternoon and for more than an hour I could see a “squall-line” of dark, low, mean looking clouds approaching me, from the west. Just before they arrived, there was a proverbial “calm before the storm”, and when they hit me, it was a suddenly much colder, with rain, hail, and strong winds. This lasted only approx. 10 minutes, as the storm continued eastward: an almost perfect “textbook” cold front — a very strong one.

The next morning, or perhaps it was the following morning, I read in a newspaper that there had been a terrible storm, halfway around the world, at approximately that same time, which hit Bangladesh.

That storm killed hundreds of humans, perhaps thousands. It also killed thousands of cows because there are almost no hills in Bangladesh. Folks there are at the mercy of strong weather systems, such as hurricanes and cyclones, during which storm surges might push large amounts of salt-water up onto the low flatlands there.

After reading about this, I visualized our planet Earth, at that time, with 2 strong storm events on opposite sides of it: one in Missouri, one in Bangladesh. When I realized this, I experienced a new sense of awe and wonder: our Mother Nature indeed “works in mysterious ways” and “who can understand it?” [Both quotes are from the Christian Bible, referring to the higher power, or “GOD”, as they say].

There’s more. This happened in May of 1991, almost exactly 2 months after the first Iraq War ended (you might remember that that was the one which Bush Senior started). As the Iraqi army retreated from their invasion of Kuwait, they set many oil wells on fire that then burned, out of control, for the next several months.

At that time, being the near genius I am, I formed the following theory: perhaps it was the heat from these out of control oil well fires which contributed to the strength and severity of the storm which hit Bangladesh in May, approximately 2 months after the oil well fires started. Perhaps this was a textbook example of how global-warming —(or “local” warming)— increases the strength of storm systems.

I would say that our mother nature works in some very, very mysterious (yet, totally connected) ways indeed.