Weather – Like It or Not, There’s a New Normal

There’s been a lot of rain here in our side of the world since we ushered 2013. If I remember correctly, it rained hard the second day of the year and well into the rest of that week. We’ve had some respite after that. But for the past few days, it’s been raining relentlessly again. Weather forecasters said something about the tail-end of the cold front causing these heavy rains.

We Davaoeños have always enjoyed fairly good weather for most of the year, for as long as I can remember. There’s been a widely-held belief that Davao is typhoon-free. Most of the materials I’ve read about the city mentions that it sits outside the typhoon belt area. It’s likewise shielded by majestic mountain ranges in most parts. Those tidbits seem to explain why we rarely get to experience the worst of typhoons.

But, like it or not, there’s a new normal when we talk about the weather. Gone were the certainty of safety from the chilling effects of storms and other weather-related disturbances. We now see rising water levels in streets previously thought to be flood-free. We hear more news about landslides burying houses and claiming lives, strong winds uprooting sturdy trees, logs careening down mountains to sweep houses away in raging swirls of muddy waters.

How much of these changes are part of the natural flow of things or brought about by human excesses, I don’t really know. But deep-rooted beliefs are being shaken and destroyed. Gone would be the kind of normal where you get to feel secure in choosing a place you believe is safe from most of calamities. You can be anywhere in the world now and not feel as safe as you’ve probably used to be way back in a time when things were the “old normal”.

So here we are in Davao almost at the end of another cold, rainy day. Some of us continue on with our lives lamenting the cold and non-stop rains. Some who have been forcibly evacuated are waiting for flood waters to recede so they can go back to their houses. Some no longer have houses to return to.

I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t feel the change. The personal experiences vary, but the bottom line stays the same. We are caught in the drift of a changing world. And nature continues to run its course. But some things seem to beg a bigger question. How are we going to apply ourselves in preserving what we can for this generation and the next? Perhaps each personal decision and commitment could matter in the long run.

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