Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why Is It Always Oshkosh?

As those of us here in Oshkosh clean up from yet another severe thunderstorm you have to start wondering "Why is it always Oshkosh?"  If there is going to be 70-mile an hour winds, or golf ball sized hail or flash flooding anywhere in Wisconsin, you know its going to hit Oshkosh.

Yeterday, the storms formed in Shawano and Waupaca Counties and were heading in an easterly direction.  I had a co-worker ask me if I thought they were going to hit us and I said (not thinking about Oshkosh's recent weather history) "No, it looks like they are going to pass to the north."  AT THAT VERY INSTANT, the supercell turned to the south and headed straight for Oshkosh.  And of course, it picked up more strength just as it arrived--pounding us with extreme straight line winds that knocked down a bunch of trees and power lines.

And to add insult to injury, as the storm cell passed south of Oshkosh, it started losing strength to the point that a severe thunderstorm warning wasn't even issued for Fond du Lac County.

So why does this keep happening?  What is it about Oshkosh that makes it a magnet for storms that suddenly gain strength--or just come out of nowhere?  I know there is a meteorological explanation for it.  We lie right at the edge of the micro-environment created by Lake Michigan and the difference in low-level air temperatures creates added instability to fronts that move through the area, blah, blah, blah.

I prefer to think that what I always tell my wife is true: that Oshkosh was built on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground and that has angered the spirits--who now punish us by conjuring up great storms and floods.  Given the discoveries of old bones during construction projects every once in a while, this may actually be true.  But even if it isn't, it does make for a pretty cool explanation as to why Oshkosh is always ground zero when all Hell is breaking loose.

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