Life includes a lot of oddities, like strange stories, little known facts, and weird mysteries that entertain, amaze and often amuse us.
For example, did you know that until 1992, dueling was legal in Paraguay if both parties were blood donors? If you're looking for little known facts, are you aware that there is an average of 336 dimples on a golf ball? And when it comes to the weird, until recently most lipstick contained pearlescense derived from fish scales.
There's more of the odd, strange and little known. For instance, there is enough fuel in a full jumbo jet tank to drive an average car four times around the world, and lightning strikes the Earth an average of 100 times every second. In 2013, 767 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day; on average, people fear spiders more than they do death.
This one comes as a surprise to most: In 1998 more fast-food employees were murdered on the job than police officers.
You get the picture. There's a lot of strange stories, little known facts and weird oddities out there, including a few that happened recently following the landfalls of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. But before we get to that, let's talk about little known hurricane facts, like how every second during a major storm, a large hurricane releases energy equivalent to that of 10 atomic bombs. In 10 minutes during the peak of a hurricane, more energy is released than all the world’s nuclear weapons combined.
A major hurricane, like Harvey that ravaged the Texas coast, can deliver as much as 2.4 trillion gallons of rain water a day, inundating thousands of square miles of land with its heavy floods. Of the 281 hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. since 1851, Katrina is considered the costliest. But the deadliest U.S. storm on record was the hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas, on September 8, 1900, claiming an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 lives.
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF HURRICANES?
But there are some hurricane-related oddities that are less menacing and on the lighter side. When major weather events hit, some odd and very strange things can and often do happen. Such was the case in recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. In a report from the Victoria (Texas) Advocate, a number of strange oddities emerged and were reported, including an incident involving Edna (Texas) resident Kathy Brooks of Jackson County. While Brook's home escaped serious storm damage, trees and shrubs in her yard did not fare nearly as well. Limbs were broken off and leaves were stripped from trees.
Brooks said, distracted by the voracious nature of the storm's fury, she didn't remember hanging out her wash a few days before the storm arrived. While she did remember to gather the clothes drying on the line, she inadvertently left her $2 white plastic laundry basket lying on the ground beneath the clothes line. After the storm, while looking out her kitchen window at the debris in her yard left behind by the storm, she spotted the basket, now upside down, but sitting in the same spot where she left it.
In another strange incident, a Texas resident reported the roof of her home was partially blown off, but a pair of martini glasses and a glass decanter inside were untouched except for water that leaked down from the open ceiling.
Brandi Ramirez of Victoria said she evacuated her home before the storm arrived because she lived in a 127 year old wooden home and feared the structure would be reduced "to matchsticks." But returning home after the storm, in spite of widespread damage to other structures around her property, the house stood virtually untouched.
Ramirez said pecan trees in her yard had been badly damaged and large limbs were on her roof, but not a single shingle was out of place. She says she did not have time to board up her windows either, yet amazingly, those were also left intact, though the roof of her barn was badly damaged.
Another Victoria resident who lives in a 107-year old, historic wooden home, says her house was completely lifted up by the storms ravaging winds and set back down again, but only window and door screens were damaged, along with water connections to her hot water heater that were broken.
NOT JUST TEXAS
It wasn't just Texas residents that reported oddities. One Florida resident who suffered through Hurricane Irma as it raked across the state, snapped a photo of a nearly untouched trampoline in his back yard that had only very minor damage, in spite of having a flimsy net barrier around it to prevent trampoline users from bouncing off. The amazing part of the story is that the trampoline did not belong to the homeowner. It had blown into his backyard from an unknown destination, and was standing upright as if it had not been moved at all.
While there is nothing odd about an active and damaging hurricane season, and there is never anything than can lighten the burden of how devastating and horrible the super storms can be, some of the odd things that happen during and after a storm seem unusual and even unexplainable, and can provide us with more to think about than the deadly nature of these very frightening events.