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(2009-01-19 19:33:35)


天空观察Sky Watch

Today the wind and rain drove fiercely against my apartment window. It was the tail end of a typhoon. Every year, as the calendar indicates the approach of autumn, these destructive tropical storms account for both death and destruction along Asia’s coasts. On an average there may be fifteen such storms every year. Although many civilians adopt a casual attitude towards these events, awareness is advisable.


As the water dripped from my balcony and accumulated into free-flowing rivers on the road beneath, I was reminded of the extreme weather that affected the residents of North America. Hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, ice storms and electrical storms are all examples of extreme weather that may challenge an entire community. Each storm is unique in character, contributing its own particular fascination and fear.


Every fall hurricanes slam the United States coast. They upset boats, fell mature trees, wash away sections of public beaches and often cause death. Fortunately with the advantage of modern prior warning systems authorities are able to keep the chaos to a minimum. Regardless, some sectors of the population still ignore the warnings. The burden of rescuing these irresponsible adults falls on the authorities. Mean while government budgets are strained. To assemble enough aid to assure assistance for all regions in a country stretches finances.


Hurricanes seldom reach Ontario, Canada, but in 1954 Hurricane Hazel exposed the residents of Toronto to an awful night of flooding and terror. Responding to the disaster required the supreme effort of all the rescue departments.


In Ontario where a brush winter extends from November until April, snowstorms are regular occurrence. People adjust their travel plans, sports activities and especially their mode of dress when the weather forecasters predict a severe snowstorm. Automobile drivers must be more cautious under these circumstances. Snow removal becomes a major expense for northern cities. Families adjust their weekend plans and stay together at home, sitting safely in front of a blazing fire, and viewing a video, the beauty of fluffy white snow can be appreciated when it blankets stately evergreens standing against a deep blue sky.


In 1998, Ontario residents were crippled by a severe ice storm. People’s lives came to a grinding halt when power lines crumpled under the weight of the ice. People lived without electricity for weeks. Remote parts of the province resumed normal living conditions after several months. Rocks, trees and lakes abound in the Canadian Shield area of Ontario. Electrical storms provide spectacular entertainment for summer evenings. Zigzag bolts of lightening flash across the sky the clap of thunder echoes across the water. Each storm provides a remarkable drama, one without parallel in nature.


When individuals encounter the impressive forces of nature we are reminded that we are indeed weak and insignificant!




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