Friday, April 29, 2011

A Reflection on the Storms

Whether you know someone who is picking up the pieces or if you've looked at the incredible footage on television, the storms this week have certainly left a mark on everyone's heart.

Tracking storms for hours on air without a break during a 36 hour time period wears heavily on me physically, mentally and emotionally. There is nothing like reliving the memories of November 2001 for me and my neighbors, seeing what's headed in a town's direction and knowing how their lives will forever change because of one weather event.

Several people have asked why April has been such an active tornado month for Mississippi. The most active months for tornadoes occur from April to June. So, we've only just begun. However, there are several reasons why this April has been so stormy.

The jet stream has been blowing at 150 miles per hour! Combine that fast moving stream of wind with the breezy conditions we've had at the ground level, and you have plenty of shear to work with. The second factor is we are currently in a La Nina weather pattern. The air in the Pacific Ocean is a bit cooler and this has off set the jet stream causing it to dip into the southeastern states. Next, the warm air blowing over the Gulf of Mexico continues to bring in plenty of humid, unstable air. And lastly, the southwestern states have been dealing with a drought. The dry air at the mid levels of the atmosphere (roughly 9,000 feet up) acts as a "lid" or a cap and contains thunderstorms at a certain point. When that cap finally breaks, the storms explode into the violent ones we've seen, similiar to lifting the lid off a steamy pot of boiling water. All of these together over the southeastern states have equaled an April of historic proportions.

From a spiritual standpoint, I still see God's hand reaching down to comfort everyone affected. Psalm 34:18 says, "The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Those who are picking up the pieces and burying their loved ones have broken hearts today; they have a crushed spirit. They are at their lowest of low.

I don't understand why storms come and the world is often turned upside down. But I do know God is still in control and He is bigger than any storm that we've ever faced.

Pray for those who have been affected by the storms. If it's within your power to help, then act in a way God would have you whether it's donating time, money, items or taking a day to gather with some friends and help the victims pick up the pieces of their lives. This is our chance to be God's hands and feet and minister to the broken hearted and spread some "Son"shine.

(Barbie will be the guest speaker Saturday at the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries convention in Memphis, TN.)

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