. . . And Dust Plays Tricks
In this southwest area, as in most of the West, the wind is unpredictable although experts do their best at scientific guessing.
This morning the weather folks were pretty much on target. There was slight wind with heavy gusts and during the day things did get pretty hairy - make that dusty.
Over a few blocks from home, my medical prescriptions for my eyes were ready for pickup at the drug store so I drove those few blocks and found driving to be rather fuzzy - make that dusty.
I am most or less used to that fuzzy - make that dusty - driving and thought little about it until I got into the mall parking lot where the asphalt seemed to have turned to dust in a fierce gust.
Nearly lost my cap and my sweater to the wind as I wabbled a few car lengths to the door of Walgreen's where I figured I'd be standing in line for maybe 20 minutes waiting to reach the counter and get my presecriptions.
Well, I got a surprise - only one lady ahead of me at the prescription counter and she was leaving. No waiting line. Now, another surprise!
"Good morning Mr. Hoye," -(they are quite friendly in Walgreen's and the pharmacists have good memories) - said Brittany as she plucked a Kleenex for a convenient box and handed it to me.
"Here, clean your glasses, it's pretty dusty out there, isn't it?" she added.
(Do you see why I say they are quite friendly in Walgreen's?) I cleaned the glasses and then recognized the young lady who'd handed me the Kleenex. By golly, they were dirty - make that dusty.
Wind in the southwest is always a BIG topic of conversation. particularly about this time of the year and again in August and September, because here - meaning West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona - the topic is fire danger and sometimes- especially along I-10 in Arizona - accidents and sandstorms.
A lot of folks believe these areas are strictly desert but that's not so. We have large towns and cities, greenbelts, parks, big shopping malls and many tall bildings although not like San Francisco or New York City.
Wind in these parts is damaging. We more or less tolerate breezes up to about 40 miles an hour but higher then that becomes danger and much of the time we can count on 50 and higher sustained winds and higher gusts.
The wind we have does sometimes tear up roofs, moves little buildings, shattering them sometimes and when it gets behind the lighted cigarette butt sent flying out a vehicle window by an uncaring driver, the wind races flames for miles in minutes, calling out fire departments en mass.
On New Year's Day a few years back, such an out of control fire on racing winds traveled 15 miles from an uninhabited prairie directly into the city of Hobbs, destroying 11 homes, three businesses, nearly a dozen vehicles and a few farmers' barns and their hay supplies and machinery.
In succeeding Springs such fires have destroyed 100,000 acres of farmland and crops in one area, 80,000 in another. We wish unthinking smokers - for all the fires have been blamed on tossed cigarettes - would take heed of the warnings.
In Arizona on Interstate 10, signs proclaim areas where sandstorms can exist and exist they do, forming sometimes within minutes.
There have been in my memory a half dozen accidents in such storms in which a dozen or more vehicles have piled up, with many fatalities.
Fortunately, driving from my house to Walgreen's doesn't mean I'd be facing a savage dust storm but then again - with our wind . . .
Thanks, Brittany, for that tissue, I see more clearly right now!
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