By John Matonich
“Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned.” I have heard this many times, but for some reason I think Mother Nature is a little cheesed right now. I always thought the saying came from William Shakespeare, but did a little research and found out it wasn’t. It came from William Congreve, in his 1697 tragedy, The Mourning Bride. The actual line is “Heav’n has no rage, like love to hatred turn’d,/Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d.” Either way, I wonder what we can do to help smooth the feathers of our nature’s mother.
She recently blasted us in the west end of the UP once again. It wasn’t as bad here as it was in 2016, but was worse for some of the good folks in Houghton and Menominee counties. In 2016, we received along with portions of Northern Wisconsin enough rain to count the storm as at least a 1000 year storm. No I didn’t mistakenly add a zero. My brother (the county Sheriff) told me not long after the storm that he escorted a number of scientists from the United States Geologic Survey to the areas hit and they disagreed with calling it a 1000 storm. They said they would rather classify it as “Biblical”. I am not sure what that means, but I have been drawing up some plans for an ark ever since. Millions of dollars of infrastructure was lost.
Mom Nature decided to shake us up again this past weekend. We received about 8” of rain a few hours several different times and it caused a lot of damage. I am not sure how much rain they received in Houghton, but the pictures showed nothing but devastation. The reports I heard for Gogebic County this time was damage that will approach 6 figures while Houghton County is in the 10s of millions. Yep, I did say millions. I have never heard numbers tossed around like that since I listened to some politician talk about “real money”. Believe me, the losses suffered are real and whether some financial relief comes, it never can replace the losses that are suffered or the severe upset of life that has to be endured.
I don’t want to get in some big debate about global warming. The historical numbers are showing both an increase in temperature from historical numbers as well as a pattern change in storms. I heard a presentation a couple of years ago by a climate specialist and he felt we would continue to see temperatures, rainfall and snowfall close to the same as historical numbers (although slowly warming), but he said the storm pattern was going to change a lot. He said that while our total precipitation wouldn’t change a ton, we would see an increase in major storm events with multiple patches of time with no precipitation. As far as I am concerned, he was right on the money. Our storm events here both in rainfall and snowfall are becoming more severe yet normal events are farther apart.
I am not sure what if anything can be done about this, but I have been buying real butter instead of margarine so as not try to fool Mother Nature and tick her off. As a safeguard though, the ark plans are about done and with all the trees that have been knocked down, I think I know where to get some good timber to get started.
And that’s the situation as I survey it.
After a 35-year career downstate livin’ amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.