Sometimes it’s good to get a reminder of the sheer power Mother Nature wields. And that’s what those watching the ice jam on the Wabash River got on Wednesday.
Staff members in the newsroom were among those momentarily stunned by the sight. Huge chunks of ice were being whisked down the Wabash as if they were merely ice cubes in a glass. We’re talking chunks of ice as large as office furniture. And that’s not even the biggest pieces.
There was a risk that some of the masses of ice breaking free from the jam near the U.S. 24/35 Logansport Bypass were so large that they could penetrate the houses located downriver. That prompted officials to encourage residents in the vicinity to evacuate.
To make matters worse, the ice jam had caused the river to rise from 6 feet to 14 feet overnight. If the jam didn’t loosen itself when it did, we could have been facing a major flooding problem. We lucked out this time.
When Mother Nature is involved, it doesn’t take long for a cause of concern to escalate into a full-fledged emergency. We tend to forget that and are all too often caught off guard by Mother Nature’s fury.
When the sirens blare outside and the radio beeps out a tornado warning, have you ever changed the channel or switched over to a CD to make the blaring stop?
When your favorite TV show is interrupted by scrolling warnings of floods or severe thunderstorm, do you stop and prepare yourself in case of an emergency or do you keep watching your show?
Few among us can claim to be guiltless when it comes to ignoring a weather warning a time or two.
With the crazy weather patterns here in Indiana, it’s easy to become numb to what can seem like a constant stream of warnings. It only takes a couple of false alarms to create apathy among the recipients of the message. Eliminating those false alarms is part of what a piece of proposed legislation looks to accomplish. The bill would put in place statewide emergency-warning protocol established by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
By ensuring alarms are sounded only when the warning is indeed critical, it would help alleviate that apathy. And while we agree such legislation is a good step in ensuring the emergency-warning system is running at its best, we also understand that no legislation can force people to pay attention and act accordingly.
Ultimately, it comes down to individuals recognizing what Mother Nature is capable of and then showing her the respect she deserves.
In the case of the ice jam on the Wabash, we were happy to report no one was injured. Residents in the area heeded the warnings and got out.
We hope we can report the same the next time Mother Nature decides to visit us.
THE ISSUE The power of Mother Nature OUR VIEW We play a role in protecting ourselves.