Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tornado touches down in Kentwood

We've had a spate of serious weather in the last year or so for the normally more temperate West Michigan. First we had the Great Flood of 2013 and then a bitterly cold and snowy winter, and now the summer of 2014 is turning out to be wet and stormy - with an actual tornado touchdown in Kentwood! Some of the neighborhoods the tornado passed through were previously drowned out in the flood, so it's a second round for those people. A friend's house was struck by lightning in the storm Sunday night - thankfully, it didn't burn down.

It's feeling a little apocalyptic in Grand Rapids these days. Maybe the next time the sky darkens we should grab Grandmother's jewelry, the flash drive full of photos, and get the heck out of Dodge. 

Fortunately, no one was killed, but it will be awhile before all of the property damage is repaired. In addition to the tornado damage, parts of West Michigan have gotten 10 inches of rain this past month which means some fields - and basements - have flooded. Everything not washed away is nice and green, though, which is a change from two years ago when we were in the middle of a drought.

In fact, the water levels of the Great Lakes have done a sudden turnaround, rising from well below normal to average levels for the first time in a decade. This time last year there was a whole chorus of doomsayers, from environmentalists to economists to tourist industry businessmen worried that the end was nigh. And now who knows what the future will bring? For now, though, you can easily get your boat in and out of most of Michigan's more than 10,000 lakes, and there's plenty of water for the fish to swim around in.

Tornadoes are truly frightening, though, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who suffered loss this weekend.