Rich – Air. It’s all around us. We can’t survive for more than a few minutes without it.
When air is pure and still, its presence is almost a matter of faith. We can’t see it, even though it’s right in front of our eyes. We can’t taste, smell or hear it, even though it fills up our mouths, noses and ears. We can’t feel it, even though it touches every surface of our bodies.
Yet air is fickle. Despite how crucial it is to us, air can become one of the most dramatic and destructive substances on the planet when it starts to move. Just take the firsthand experiences of some of our friends over the last couple of months…
Every summer Phoenix is engulfed by a handful of dust storms, or Haboobs, as they are called in Arabic. However, the Haboob that swept across the area on July 5th was considerably larger than most – a wall of churning air and dust approximately 100 miles wide and a mile high, with wind speeds reaching 50-60 miles per hour. Our friend Jamie took this photo, after she and her family were forced to pull off the road and wait for the Haboob to roll over the top of them. In Jamie’s own words, “We were stuck for an hour and then just drove in it for the 3 miles to get home…. It was hard to see anything. It turned to night before it was over. It was insane.”
On the evening of August 24th, southern Ontario was hammered by a string of powerful thunderstorms. We watched entranced as lightning lit up the sky with such frequency that it was almost like daylight. For some strange reason, I didn’t think to get my camera out (don’t ask me why), but luckily Shiloh captured this great shot of the evening’s spectacular light show. Only three days earlier the nearby town of Goderich had been torn apart by a massive tornado, so when Environment Canada issued a Tornado Warning for our area, we took it seriously and retired to the basement… just in case a spinning funnel of air decided to pay us a visit.
On August 28th, Tropical Storm (formerly Hurricane) Irene bullied its way across Long Island and into New England. We watched with concern as the rising waters, driven by winds of between 65 and 100 miles per hour, engulfed the coast of Long Island and bore down on the Tegers’ house (see photo). Although Barry and Jeanine’s basement and first floor temporarily became part of the Atlantic Ocean, we were relieved that they themselves – and the nearby Bergmanns – escaped Irene’s wrath unharmed.
A couple of days later we headed down through Upstate New York to visit the Pritchards in Connecticut. Irene’s furious winds had wreaked havoc deep inland, with felled trees and utility poles bringing down electric cables and causing widespread power-outages along much of our route. The storm left half of Connecticut without electricity, and Newtown (where Jeff and Kathleen live) hummed to the sound of private generators for a week or more, as the situation was gradually rectified.
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