OPINION: Summer — The crazy season

July and August are not simply nuts due to holiday, it also reflects how the weather is.

Yes, this week signifies the official start to the craziest, busiest and oddest time of year for most of us.

That’s right, I’m talking about summer where students — and let’s face it, teachers too — take every opportunity to find fun and enjoy the time away from the classroom.

Where office workers try to find any excuse to work from home or be outside and away from the desk in order to not use any of that holiday vacation time.

Where people with pickup trucks can travel down the highways pulling a 40-plus foot recreational unit with another trailer attached behind that, usually filled with a boat or all-terrain vehicles. All of which, except in this case, would normally mean a higher, commercial class licence for the driver because of the sheer length and size of the combined units. Toss in excessive summer speeds, distractions, fatigue plus poor driving habits and there will be accidents — unfortunately some fatal ones too.

Where heading to the lake, rivers, campgrounds and tourist attractions will mean every weekend is going to consist of hamburgers, hot dogs, the public hiding alcohol because of restrictions and complaints from those that will invariably receive tickets for illegally driving vehicles or quads in recreation areas.

And, where getting outside for some of us equates to the sniffles, sneezing, runny noses, itching, sore watery eyes, smacking and slapping insects in addition to medicating and slathering our bodies in a ultimately futile effort to ward off the effects of various allergens and bug bites.

Don’t get me wrong — I like summer.

Aside from the above, I get to enjoy being outside with some of the sports I like.

I can find some time to take the family to places we want to visit or have liked going to before.

It means being able to train and practice stuff I like to do without worrying about getting cold and wet or slipping and sliding all over.

And, I am able to leave home for work and come home (most of the time) without having to turn on lights, be it at the house or in the vehicle.

Weather or not

However, the craziness isn’t limited to people in the summer.

In recent years, it has been the weather that has been going crazy, not only in Alberta but across the country.

From tornadoes popping up at the oddest times and in the strangest places to flooding and excessive rain as well as blistering heat lasting for weeks, the weather patterns are getting about as predictable as a toddler learning to walk.

Let’s compare last year’s tornado that touched down in Ponoka and the most recent destruction done by the wind storm to hit central Alberta, suspected to have caused a house fire and thousands of dollars in property damage in Red Deer alone.

Yes, severe weather watches were in place earlier in the day in both instances, yet warnings weren’t given until literally the damage had already been done. In the case of Ponoka, a tornado warning wasn’t even issued until several minutes after the incident.

What this should have translated into is this — as soon as a severe weather watch is issued, watch the skies and take any precautions necessary plus prepare to head for shelter. Because, predicting what the weather will do is not exact and it’s up to the public to be aware of what’s actually happening and reacting appropriately.

But that is…just an observation.

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