by Amanda Carpenter, Program Associate, Second Nature
(This post is part of a series by the Second Nature team about why we do what we do.)
My passion for sustainability started, oddly enough, with a fascination with the weather. As a kid, hearing the severe weather warning tone on the television was as close to Christmas as I could get in the late spring. The warning would go off announcing the advent of a severe storm or flash flood warning, and I would be glued to the TV hoping that the announcement would mean that something cool was about to happen.
One such occasion interrupted a family barbecue on the last day of May. The forecast that morning had said that there was a high likelihood that there would be severe thunderstorms in the late afternoon, and you could definitely feel it stepping outside. The air was hot and humid, sitting heavily as the fog rolled in that early evening, and draining the motivation out of everything it touched. Around 4PM the severe weather warning started across the TV screen accompanied by a warning I had never heard before: Tornado Warning for Eastern New York.
The EF-3 tornado that dropped down about 10 miles north of my mom’s house is now known as the Mechanicville-Stillwater Tornado. The half-mile base of the tornado slashed a 30.5-mile gouge down Route 67, and was part of the historic Late-May 1998 Tornado Outbreak and Derecho. The estimated wind speed of 150-200 miles per hour was strong enough to tear the bark off of trees, and lob bricks through the side of tractor-trailers. While thankfully no one died in this tornado, 350 homes and businesses were destroyed, and 68 people were injured. Many of those who were harmed and lost everything were living in trailers and mobile homes and had little capacity to rebuild, let alone rebuild resiliently to withstand future storms.Read more