Minnesota Weather and Bridge Pilings

Exhibit 1

I don’t know what you call those structures that protect bridge pilings.  Maybe they don’t have a name.  (Although we do name everything, don’t we?  Especially engineers.)  But I am talking about those wedge-shaped structures designed to deflect ice, trees, and your runaway houseboat from hitting a bridge.

I mention it because I believe we have one of those protecting my part of Minnesota from any interesting weather.  Or maybe it is me.  Perhaps I am like Powder with strange powers to affect the physics of the world around me.  In my case it is a curse.  I love crazy weather and it seems to slip past me like a log floating in a gentle current.  I am a piling.  (I’ve been called much worse.)

Take a look at Exhibit 1.  This picture was taken almost a year ago, May 2011.  Storms were right on top of us in Linden Hills when…as if by magic…the storm split in two.  One half went south and this half went north.

Disappointing, but my weather life hasn’t always been such.

Once I was as close as you can get to a tornado without being killed.  It was a small one, but still took down some large trees.  Since I had never been in a tornado before I didn’t quite understand that swirling debris in a storm cloud hanging only feet above the tree tops might be serious.  Interestingly, I think, it wasn’t so much the visual cue as the audible one that told us we should jump into the house.  Tornadoes, even small ones, make quite a bit of noise.

We were in the back yard and when we came out to the front yard several large trees were down and the grass was pushed into crop circle patterns.  This was a storm passing through Long Lake, Minnesota, two years ago.

And two years ago I captured some fantastic pictures and video footage of a storm forming just north of Osakis, Minnesota, which would eventually become the tornado that hit Long Prairie on July 17, 2010.  That was a good year.  For storms.

Now I can’t even get a decent rain storm.  Forget about lightning and thunder.  I will be like prehistoric man huddled in a cave when that happens again, the freakishness of it all will cause me great stress.  And blizzards?  Myths.  Fables.  Things conjured up by the old timers to make us think they experienced more in the past than they do in the present.

All in all pretty quiet around these parts.  Tepid, timorous, teeny-weeny.  Dull, dull, dull.  Drives a man to drink more.  Might need a pith helmet. Maybe a nice chambray shirt and madras shorts.

Anyone want a lightly used weather radio?

(Yes, Weather Gods, I am indeed taunting you.)

Storm, Osakis, MN, July 17, 2010.

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