MARTY RUSSELL: You can’t fool (or fight) Mother Nature

“You can’t get mad at weather because weather’s not about you. Apply that lesson to most other aspects of life.”

Canadian author Doug Coupland.

In the aftermath of the deadly tornado outbreaks this week in Texas and Oklahoma we are reminded that some things, actually most things in life, we have no control over. We have to deal with them as best we can and move on. That’s life. The weather is certainly one of those things.

If you want to minimize your chances of having to deal with deadly weather and other natural disasters, a recent study by Sperling’s Best Places, a group that studies the best places to live in this country, suggests you move to Oregon or Washington state. Residents in those states are less likely than any others to experience things like tornadoes, earthquakes, floods or drought. Of course, there are still those pesky volcanoes up there.

Better yet, if you really want to reduce the odds, book a trip to the International Space Station and get above it all. Still, even there, you might be subjected to an ammonia snowstorm like the crew experienced last week when a pump failed. Then there’s also dangerous solar radiation, space debris and meteors to worry about.

If you just have a death wish, Sperling’s says move to Dallas, the most dangerous place in the country for natural disasters, and that’s not even taking into account the Dallas Cowboys.

Truth is, no place is truly safe from the whims of Mother Nature. We here in north Mississippi know that all too well. The tornado that struck Tupelo on the evening of April 5, 1936, remains one of the top 10 deadliest in this country’s history. The estimated F5 twister cut a path from the Black Zion community in Pontotoc County to Itawamba County and wiped out about 50 city blocks in Tupelo.

More than 200 people were killed and more than 700 injured in the storm although those numbers are inaccurate because only white deaths were counted at the time, not blacks. A barely 1-year-old Elvis Presley was one of the survivors.

Then there was Smithville, in more recent memory, and still rebuilding from the 2011 storm.

According to official weather statistics, between 1991 and 2010, Mississippi has experienced a tornado in every month of the year, averaging about 43 a year with the peaks coming in April and November.

Mark Twain once said, “Everybody talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.” True. Most of us couldn’t start a conversation if it weren’t for the weather. But we can’t control it, no matter how many spy novel villains have tried and failed. However, we can help those dealing with its aftermath. Show those folks in Texas and Oklahoma we understand what they’re going through and help any way you can as others have helped us in the same situations, and likely will again.

MARTY RUSSELL writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

Marty Russell

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