Pat Shingleton: "Halloween and Getting Clocked"
Here's a few spooky weather items for Halloween. A camper in Queensland, Australia was reading Steven King's "The Dead Zone." The cover of the book depicted a man being struck by lightning. A bolt of lightning struck the camper as the rubber mattress she was on may have saved her life. A twelve foot wall-of-water surged through Central Avenue. in Belton Texas on Halloween, 1974. A pickup truck was washed from Killeen to Belton ending up in the courthouse. The storm the National Weather Service called "perfect" was also known as the Halloween Storm in 1991. It was the basis for the novel, "The Perfect Storm", by Sebastian Junger depicting the sinking of the Andrea Gail claiming all on board. It was called perfect because of the perfect set of meteorological events that included remnants of Hurricane Grace turning east, an extra tropical low and a cold front. Wildlife and Weather’s Halloween edition noted that toads, spiders and snakes will begin their underground migration. Toads might be a key ingredient in witches’ brew but also are an indicator of the environment. A healthy toad population is a good sign of low pollution in your backyard. Spiders might be scary tonight but are beneficial predators of numerous insects. The venomous species are the black widow, the brown recluse and the hobo. You may hear the howl of a wolf tonight and the gray wolves are needed predators in balancing the ecosystem. They control deer and other prey populations such as coyotes and raccoons. Finally, a slithering snake is scary but is enormously beneficial to control insects and rodent pests. As it is time for Halloween, time also for another change tonight. In 2005, Congress extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks so we say goodbye to Daylight-Saving-Time. Daylight-Saving-Time makes the sun "set" one hour later, reducing the period between sunset and bedtime by one hour. It was first mentioned by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 and advocated by London builder William Wellett in his pamphlet "Waste of Daylight." He proposed advancing clocks 20 minutes over four Sundays in April and retarding them by the same amount over four Sundays in September. In 1916, England followed Germany and adopted "British Summer Time." During World War II, clocks were put two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in what is called Double Summer Time