and clearing the road after the storm.
“it is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.”
-lucius annaeus seneca
kind of funny
that the weather channel on tv
that was supposed to warn me
about incoming dangerous storms
wasn’t working right
because of the incoming dangerous storms.
every so often
a word like ‘severe’ would pop up
and disappear back into the screen
hope it wasn’t saying,
‘turn this off and take cover immediately!’
‘if you can see this, you are in harm’s way!’
at least i lived to tell the tale
and that is still working for me.
“weather forecast for tonight: dark.”
miami metrozoo flamingos, riding out hurricane andrew
How do you keep a flamingo flock safe in a major storm?
This past weekend, many Americans got ready for Hermine, but odds are that very few people had to stuff 30 flamingos in the bathroom of the Miami Metrozoo.
Back in 1992, in the leadup to Hurricane Andrew, Ron Magill, the Miami Zoo’s assistant curator, had to help get an entire zoo ready for disaster.
He says now, “I thought we were doing all this for nothing.” But he and his team ran around doing what they could, making sure all of their furry, feathery and scaly charges were securely housed and fed.
Some of the bird exhibits weren’t likely to live up to the task. Most days, the flamingos loved being outside, sunning themselves in their outdoor lake. As soon as they were sure Andrew would make landfall, Magill and the other keepers looked for somewhere else to put them.
The bathroom was the obvious choice—no windows, a tile floor for easy cleanup, and plenty of room for an improvised bed, made out of hay hastily dumped all over the floor. Most importantly, Magill adds, “it had a ready-made supply of fresh water.” He and his coworkers opened up all the stalls, made sure the toilets were full, and set out for the flamingo exhibit to grab the new tenants.
The birds were not very cooperative. “These flamingos are flapping everywhere, we’re grabbing them, we’re getting full of flamingo water and stuff,” says Magill. “It got to the point, where I thought, ‘After all this work, this storm better freaking come!.”
But the team managed the job, and as they left the bathroom, Magill turned back for a moment to appreciate their work. He had always been a photography buff, and liked to carry a point-and-shoot wherever he went, even to emergency zoo batten-downs. “I look at all these flamingos and I go, you know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that before,” he remembers. He took a few snaps and got back to work.
Hurricane Andrew turned out to be a big deal after all. “The storm punished the zoo from one end to the other,” the West Palm Beach Post reported at the time. “The restaurant fell apart; paddle boats that people rented to relax on the lake were thrown hither and yon.” An impala, an ostrich, and a dikdik were killed. The koala barn collapsed. One of the aviaries was completely leveled, releasing hundreds of birds—which, luckily, stayed close to home. Overall, it was the state’s costliest disaster ever, killing 44 people and destroying over 700,000 homes. “It looks like a war zone,” said Florida’s Lieutenant Governor, Buddy McKay, after flying over the affected area.
Across the country, journalists were looking for new ways to get the extent of the devastation across. “Everyone was saying, ‘Does anybody have anything different than your basic stuff—trees down, roofs off and people with their bathtubs in the front yard?'” remembers Magill. He sent out his bemused flamingos. The image was picked up by local newspapers and, soon, national ones, and the birds became the feathery face of the storm.
Miami Metrozoo is now Zoo Miami, and Magill is their communications director. He’s also a Nikon Ambassador, and spends his spare time traveling the country giving lectures on wildlife photography, during which he makes sure to always show this photo. “That image technically is not a good image,” he says. “But its success made me realize, don’t worry so much about the technical qualities of a photograph. Worry about catching a moment.”
As for the flamingos, the whole flock survived their two-day bathroom ordeal. After a short stint at nearby Busch Gardens, they eventually made it back to a rebuilt exhibit, with no strange mirrors, and much larger, unflushable ponds.
Despite their escape, though, they will be forever associated with their temporary habitat: “To this day, I get requests for the image from restaurants here on South Beach,” says Magill. “They frame it, and they hang it up in their bathroom, in front of the urinals.”
“the chief difficulty alice found at first
was in managing her flamingo. ”
credits: atlasobscura, c. giaimo – photo: ron magill
posted online by my local news outlet:
Severe weather forecast changed significantly, now in parts of Michigan.
Storm Prediction Center says severe storms possible in west Michigan this evening.
Main threat of severe weather expected just west of Michigan, but still a concern here.
The severe weather forecast for this afternoon and evening has changed significantly, and has increased part of Michigan’s severe weather chances.
The Storm Prediction Center issued a new forecast at 12:30 p.m., after looking at the latest round of weather data.
They basically shifted all of the severe weather risk areas eastward. The images above show you the earlier forecast from this morning on the left, and the forecast from 12:30 p.m. on the right.
Much of southern Lower Michigan went from a marginal risk of severe weather to a slight risk of severe weather.
i am a little confused, especially now that i’ve seen it move from marginal to slight, so i looked up the difference in the dictionary and now i’m really confused. i think i’ll just go to bed and wake up in the morning, hoping that the risk is actually at the ‘slim to none’ level.
adjective: marginal of, relating to, or situated at the edge or margin of something.
adjective: slight; comparative adjective: slighter; superlative adjective: slightest small in degree; inconsiderable.
news credit: mlive.com
the view out of my window
this morning in glen arbor, michigan
one hour after we left
the storms began
every kind of bad weather
left this beautiful little town
by the lakes
my family members
who are still there
are all okay
hoping that all the others are too
the sun will rise once again
and the cleanup
Staff report from the Glen Arbor Sun:
Glen Arbor was hit by a very severe storm on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 2. Winds of 93 miles per hour reportedly pummeled the town next to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the height of the summer tourism season. As of Sunday night, the Glen Lake Fire Department was reporting that all roads into Glen Arbor, and around the Glen Lakes, are impassible.
phone blowing up
if you can
i went to
safest spot in my cottage
‘that’s exactly how you’d like to go, isn’t it?’
i had to agree
all the while
something like this
was going on outside
all was calm
if you want to see the sunshine,
you have to weather the storm.
– frank lane
image credits: google images