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June 13, 2008

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Jeepers, I forget how blessed we are here in Central Alberta until I hear of tragedies like this.
We had a tornado go through the city almost 21 years ago now and, according to reports (and I had NO idea this was so) the tornado that went through Edmonton was the second-worst in Canadian history... holy cr@p.... All I remember was the sick colour of the sky, the deluge of rain and then the huge hailstones. At the time I had no idea what had happened. And even having been that close still gets me ~ 27 people dead.
I cannot believe what so many others live with on a much more regular basis ~ fires, floods, mudslides, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, extreme temperatures (heat... I can live with the cold), volcanos (shoot, I lived in Calgary when Mount St. Helens blew and we had ash everywhere... can't imagine what it was like further south)... Man, am I lucky or what?

So for any of you suffering through any of this ~ or for those of you subjected to any of this on a regular basis, my heart and prayers go out to you.

Julie Anne Long

Kathy, thanks for your heart and prayers. :) The news is just kind of mind-boggling this week. Not just the fires, but the crazy floods in Iowa, and yet another big quake hit, this time in Japan!! I think you have me talked into moving to Canada. LOL. And I tell you, the very idea of tornadoes scares the bejesus out of me. We've seen a few storms here that wreak havoc, with mudslides and downed trees, etc. -- just this winter we had such violent storms and so much rain it surprises me that we're officially in a drought, but Sierra snowpack is too low, so apparently we are. But this is California, and it simply doesn't rain during the summertime here, and if it snows in the Bay Area during the winter, it's only on the highest peaks. It's going to be a very tough year for fires in the state, and I'm betting in other parts of the country, too. That Humboldt fire is about 45% contained right now, but they routinely contend with rising winds in the afternoon, which fan the flames. That area is all tall, tall trees and hills and dry brush at this time of year. So basically we're still watching and waiting. Lord, but it's nervewracking. :) I know people who used to live in Malibu, and more frequently than comfortable the Santa Ana winds would start fires and they'd all have to evacuate to the beach. I've known people who lost their homes in So Cal. Fire is such a primitive force, isn't it? For all our human ingenuity, we're still at the mercy of the elements, more or less. :) Every now and then the earth likes to show us who's really boss. So, yeah: Alberta's looking attractive. LOL. What other kind of crazy weather does Canada get? I know it's a big country -- LOL -- and a lot of it is pretty darn cold -- but are any parts earthquake prone, or more storm prone, etc., than others? What part has the rep for the best weather??

Lareign

Ahh Julie, weather this year has been freakin' nuts. I think our area is out of tornado season (knock on wood) because it seems like the tornadoes and floods have shifted north to the Midwest, which isn't a good thing for them, either. Lately we've just been getting rain and thunder but no tornado threat, hallelujah.

I want to visit Canada, and I'm not quite sure why. Is it because I grew up in Texas and was always much closer to Mexico than Canada, thus making Canada more "exotic?" Beats me. But I would like to go up there. I'd need a passport, though, which I do not have. And not like I could go this summer anyway. Last night I dreamed me and my friend from Minnesota traveled to Canada for a lesbian wedding, ha.

Anyway, back to the fires: Are y'all ok in the Bay? Is the risk there not so big, at least firewise? I'd hope not. Once there was a big huge fire at an old military base just south of here, and while rationally I knew the chances of it spreading to my apartment were quite slim, I was still freaking out a little while at work, thinking I had to go save the kitties. It was a huge huge fire but they contained it, thankfully. I think some roads were closed and towns put on alert, but they were in another direction. Still scary, and the feeling of complete and utter helplessness was just awful.

Kathy K

Well, for anyone that's averse to snow and cold weather, Vancouver and / or Victoria are perfect! Especially Victoria (on Vancouver Island). Gorgeous weather pretty much all year 'round... lots of rain and gray skies but that's pretty much it. If anyone would have earthquakes, or at least feel them at all, it's more likely to be there, though... but again, nothing like California!

Some tornados in Southern Alberta ~ more there than anywhere else... but even so, NOTHING like Oklahoma and the other like-cursed states.

Weather tends to be warmer in the southern portions of the provinces, but most experience winter to one degree or anohter. High humidity in southern Ontario (Great Lakes anyone?) and Quebec, to some degree.

Then there's the Atlantic provinces ~ they get huge dumps of wet and HEAVY snow; nothing like here in AB or the other prarie provinces. Central Canada ~ Quebec and Ontario ~ get more sleet and freezing rainstorms.

No hurricanes ~ being northerly does help there!
Forest fires, yeah of course ~ but again not like what's going on in California; never to the degree of damage to homes and the like; smaller population centers in forested areas probably doesn't hurt.

Spoiled? Yeah, sounds like it doesn't it? Hey, and we have lots and LOTS of space, too. Just have to put up with weather in the winter that can be -40 (C & F) for a few weeks at a time... but then we hibernate dontcha know. *grin*

Julie Anne Long

Hey Lareign! I'm glad you rang in, because i was thinking of you in light of all that craziness going on tornado-wise. It seems like every time I turn on the TV news this week there's an image of someone staring blankly at the rubble that used to be their home. Glad you're safe. :) And Maybe Kathy can speak to whether Canada is exotic. LOL. I've never been either!! I must rectify that. I've heard raves about Vancouver, etc. I keep remembering the episode of the Simpsons when they visited Canada. LOL. Marge was enthusing about how clean it is. Firewise: the Santa Cruz fire is about...an hour, two hours south of here. I love Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz mountains are just absolutely beautiful -- Redwood forests, the beach, lovely california mountain weather (hot during the day, v. cold in the morning and night, sometimes fog). I love it up there, particuarly around Big Basin, where I've gone camping quite a bit, and the UC Santa Cruz campus is lovely, too. Here, in a big city surrounded by water, we're in no real danger, but we get hints of the fire in the air quality and the strange colors in our sunsets. The other fires are quite a bit further away -- Monterey is even further south than Santa Cruz (that drive down the California Coast, past Big Sur, etc., can really just take your breath away), and Butte County is home to Chico State, etc. -- about 90 miles past Sacramento. Still, I know dozens of people with ties to both places, so everyone's on tenterhooks. And yeah: it's pretty humbling, when you're given no choice but to leave everything when a natural disaster strikes. I get strangely very brisk and clearheaded in the face of disasters. It's just the *little* things that freak me out. LOL. Just kidding. Here are some images from the Humboldt fire:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?o=8&f=/c/a/2008/06/14/BAD1119FHI.DTL

So Kathy, now I totally want to visit Victoria and Vancouver, because I know Canada has spectacular trees and water, all the necessary ingredients to my happiness, similar to California. :) I'm all for *warm,* weather sissy that I am. :) And I really don't know from humidity. LOL. I was in New York in July once and I could not BELIEVE people could live like that. You need a scuba suit just to go outside! LOL. And again, that whole rain thing during the summer once baffled me. :) I once thought the whole world had California weather. Although I do like thunderstorms. :)Sounds like Canada is a bit wetter on the whole than CA, so maybe summer wildfires in forested areas are less of a problem. I can't conceive of -40. Seriously. It's like the Australian outback, I guess -- a huge expanse, but kind a hard to live there. :) Do you ever wonder why people who live in cold places don't grow all furry, the way animals do?? LOL. Wouldn't that be efficient? And then you'd all just shed during the summer. :) You would know just how cold the winter would be by how fluffy you start getting before Winter begins. LOL.

bethany

What a thoughtful post, Julie. I've been sending out good thoughts and wishes to everywhere lately! :) I hope things settle down soon.

And I hope you are doing well!

Bethany
bethanyhensel.blogspot.com

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