Pat Shingleton: "The Big Wind..."
Over the last week we have had a few days when the winds have increased to 25 miles per hour. This hardly compares with the "Wind of the Century." This was named by the British during the second week of January, 1968 as 125 mile-per-hour winds blew out of the Irish Sea causing blizzards and hurricane-force winds from England to Iran. Hundreds were injured, with at least 20 fatalities. Scotland experienced the worst with 16 causalities. Houses in Glasgow and neighboring Scottish villages were toppled, leaving hundreds homeless. At Great Dun Fell, the highest wind speed ever recorded in England and Wales was 134 mph. Destructive winds swept across Denmark, Germany and Switzerland with heavy snow in Jerusalem and a first time snowfall in Beersheba in the Negev Desert.From the wind to the ice. Years ago, years Don Briggs invented a winter sport, enjoyed by hundreds. Don is a renowned wrestling coach and years ago was working on a neighbor’s farm when he created a winter recreation in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Briggs duplicated a sport that is usually confined to steep mountains – ice climbing. With a garden hose and shower heads he watered down a 70-foot grain silo and with temperatures ranging from zero to minus 17, and instantly created an ice mountain. Briggs believed that if you build it they will climb it and that has certainly been the case for many years. Climbers are tethered to the silo as they straddle stalactites of ice. In addition to the dozens of adventure seeking climbers, some as far away as China, the iced-up silos have offered an additional attraction as ice sculptures. Also, during the early days of firefighting, getting the wet stuff onto the red stuff was a task. Bucket brigades were recognized as the best method of firefighting and “stand pipes” were positioned and attached to the municipal water systems. Freezing weather became an obstacle to fight the fire and to prevent a frozen line, traditional fire plugs were covered with manure, tanbark or straw. As the plug evolved to the hydrant, above ground nozzles were configured to avoid mud, snow and ice. Antennas are also attached to a hydrant for firefighters to easily recognize their location in case of heavy snowfall. Years ago, we shoveled snow from sidewalks and driveways as it was also our responsibility to clear the snow from the hydrant on our property.