The weather matters even after storms – or tragedies – end

Scott Curl, a meteorologist with the Norman office of the National Weather Service, had a compelling — and achingly accurate — comment about weather’s impact on our lives during a presentation at the National Press Foundation’s “Understanding Violent Weather” conference this week.

Severe weather typically makes the news when a tornado or flood strikes a community, he said. But weather also plays a significant role in rescue or clean-up efforts.

Firefighters trying to bring a grass fire under control in 2001 in western Oklahoma had to abandon their positions because a wind shift turned the fire their direction, he said.

A strong thunderstorm rolled through Oklahoma City even as rescuers were combing through the rubble of the Murrah federal building in 1995, he said, forcing teams to evacuate the building and bring the rescue attempts to a halt.

As he spoke, I remembered how Greensburg was still picking up the pieces in 2007 when more strong storms rolled through the area – sending residents and officials alike scurrying for shelter.