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Outdoors: Storms

storm clouds
storm clouds

At Interlochen, we had quite a storm last week.

It began quietly enough - rhythmic raindrops on the roof - rather like the left hand part of Chopin’s "Raindrop" Prelude, but it quickly morphed into the wild hail and thunderstorm reminiscent of the storm movement in Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony.

I stayed inside at the door, watching the hailstones bounce like ping pong balls and the trees dancing wildly in the wind.

Dipping and swaying - and protecting water quality.

Most of us are aware and annoyed (to put it mildly) by the increase of weeds and algae in our bays and on our lakeshores.

Aquatic vegetation has proliferated due to a combination of circumstances, but nutrients and soil that are washed into the water during storms certainly play a major role.

Tree canopies intercept and slow the hailstones and the raindrops as they fall, so soil erosion is significantly reduced.

Many raindrops are caught by the leaves, and then, after the storm passes, the droplets gently fall whenever the breezes blow.

Consequently, trees reduce the volume of soil particles and phosphorus that otherwise would be washed into the water.

This was a pelting rainstorm - what we used to call a "gully-washer" - and in open, areas, gullies did form.

But in the woods, the raindrops literally fractured as they hit the tree leaves, and the resulting mist was absorbed by the soil.

And this dry summer, we need all of the raindrops - even the frozen ones - we can get.

"Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa" can be heard every Wednesday on Classical IPR.