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Latest New Richland, Minnesota, weather

I was visiting with Matt Groskreutz after Round Whatever of Delugapalooza this past week, and we tried to figure out a good place to move that doesn’t have severe weather. Matt suggested a beach in Mexico, but then we remembered hurricanes. Eh, you can’t avoid those when they arrive. I thought about Arizona, but they have dust storms that make some of our snowstorms look tame.

Scientists will go on and on about climate change, and I’ve always been a bit hesitant to swallow that completely, but it sure seems like our weather patterns are shifting. I knew this must be so after talking to my grandma this week, and she was having a hard time thinking of a stretch of years like the past five or so. As a retired farm wife, she knows her stuff when it comes to weather!

I used to be fascinated by severe weather as a child; I even wanted to be a meteorologist for a while! (They and Joe Mauer get away with a low batting average these days.) My sisters and I always thought it was rather neat to be stuffed in the root cellar with the family photo albums anytime a tornado warning was issued. If our house had ever been hit, we’d still have those pictures along with potatoes and all of Mom’s canned fruits and vegetables.

We did have straight line winds go through one year. I didn’t understand why Mom was so freaked out; after all, a couple years before that, I had stood outside our basement and watched a tornado touch down briefly about a mile away. This time though, Dad was down in the barn. Luckily, he was in the basement part of the barn; our chicken shed was destroyed. Dad and I went over to the neighbors’ to help after their barn was shifted off its foundation and their machine shed had been wrecked.

Blizzards were no big deal – it usually meant a day off of school! The snow would stop, and we’d have a chance to play to our heart’s content in the new drifts.

How things change. Blizzards are an annoyance when you have to shovel and make up snow days. Plus, we don’t have an awesome sledding hill in our backyard like my parents did at their place in the country!

Tornadoes aren’t cool either. Witnessing the devastation a few years back was incredibly numbing. I still shake my head every time I drive to New Richland and see all the trees missing by Thompsons and Bartnesses. When you have to help people pick through their belongings that have been flung away in a muddy field, it makes you appreciate Mother Nature even more.

It’s scary, too, that I could drive my kids by Legion Lake Field this past week and point out how it wasn’t even as high as it had been in 2010. At least area people feel better prepared for this eventuality after that initial debacle. After this week of storms, the Land of 10,000 Lakes has probably doubled in the number of watery locations.

And we didn’t even have it as bad as those west of us. I found out my parents and my grandma both had much flooding of their basements and were just trying to keep up with it after a ton of rain fell on the already-saturated ground this week. Plus, the rash of tornadoes to the south and west were stark reminders of the power in those clouds.

I often refer to the weather terrorists when they start predicting the latest Storm of the Century, no matter which season we’re in. However, they seemed to nail it this past week. Just when you hoped they would be wrong, they hit it over the fence in a game we’d rather they not win.

Word of the Week: This week’s word is picaroon, which means a rogue, thief, or pirate, as in, “The citizens stopped the picaroon from thieving from unfortunate people affected by the natural disaster.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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