The heat rolled in from Texas

The weather has been extraordinarily erratic: hot, humid, and stormy followed by icy, dry calm, then back to hot, then cold, then back, until I’m exhausted. Seriously, if I wanted to live life alternating between stormy heat and cold calm, I’d date a guy with commitment issues.

We spent most of the weekend under a tornado watch, and the last of the dangerous storms finally look to be leaving the area. Behind them is the dry line, and the end of what could be one of the worse outbreaks of tornadoes to hit this area in a long time. Estimates put the number of tornadoes at over 100; with so many towns damaged, I’ve lost count. Three people were killed. (Update: Nine people were killed in Missouri.)

St. Louis wasn’t negatively impacted, other than flooding from the rain. It’s the Arch: keeps the storms away. (And all this time, you probably thought it was just a monument.) We have been lucky this weekend in that Saturday’s storms went to the south, and Sunday’s went north, splitting to either side of us. Not so lucky for other folks, though. Festus, Kansas City, Columbia, St. Mary, St. Gen, and so on — all have been hit.

Oddly enough, in the midst of the storms, we’ve had beautiful weather. Saturday morning was wonderful–sunny, warm, and though it had rained all night, not terribly humid. I visited the Botanical Gardens to see the first of the spring flowers and the last of the orchid show. Took photos, of course.

Yesterday, as I hovered over the radar at Wunderground, watching every red blob form, I used Lightroom to create a show of the some of the photos from the weekend; with spring flowers, ducks, cardinals, and park photos in the Flash show at Tinfoil Project. I also added a fade functionality to my JavaScript library I’m currently updating, and you can see the early effort to emulate the Flash fade effect (bandwidth intensive, requires JavaScript).

(Note that it most likely will only work with Safari, Firefox, and Opera at this time; I haven’t tested it on my Windows machine yet. This JavaScript library work is part of my new development efforts in PHP, Ruby, and JavaScript that will be housed at Tinfoil. When they’re finished, they’ll all be open sourced. )

I’ve also made a tweak to the Burningbird site design–just in the background. I like the shadow better. Really I can be so productive when a storm blows through. Oh, I don’t necessarily get work done–but I can be productive.

Work also continues in my very limited spare time to create the application that finds Flickr images in my pages, downloads the images, and then updates my content to reflect the new image file location (and removes the Flickr link). I have the part on downloading the files; just need to add the part to update the posts. Once finished, I’ll be deleting my Flickr account. I’ve already deleted my gmail account. Last to go will be Bloglines.

Have no worries on my use of such technology: I have not jumped on to the Web 2.0 wagon; I don’t plan on setting myself up in competition with Flickr. After all, I’m not seventeen, anymore.

I watched the Weather Channel most of yesterday afternoon and evening, and they kept referring to the storm as one of the ‘worst’ to hit the area, and discussed how ‘bad’ they were for the communities. Yet this morning I awoke to a perfect cool, spring day. From Friday to now, the daffodils have bloomed, and so has the magnolias, and especially the bird tree outside my window. All but the tallest trees have hints of green about their edges, and as for the critters, in the park on Saturday you could hear cardinals, mockingbirds, and red-winged blackbirds forming a surprisingly harmonious sound; my roommate saw a fox on his way to work not far from where we live; a bunny is hopping about on the lawn–whether it’s my old friend or a descendant, I can’t tell.

Storms in the fall strip the last of the dead leaves from the tree, to carpet the forest floors and provide home and protection for squirrels and other creatures. They knock the nuts down, to provide food. In the winter they bring snow, and if they bring in ice, they also take it away again. In the spring, they bring warmth and rain, giving new life. Storms are not ‘bad’; they are a price for life, like growing old.

Ah me, enough with my philosophy as I have much work to do since I spent the weekend hovering over the weather and walking in the park during the lulls. Some of my favorite photos from the walk I’ve attached to the end of the post. More on the storms at Technorati. Make sure to turn off the authority setting–there’s no one with authority in Missouri.

My favorite comment on the storms comes from LiveJournal:

so what if a tornado DOES hit and we all die tomorrow? At least I updated my livejournal.

All of which is my way of saying the witch didn’t come for us this weekend. Zoë was relieved; she didn’t want to play a dog in a basket.

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