March 2, 2012 9:19:00 PM
Seems Mother Nature is her most whimsical in the spring. And, not always in a good way. Less than a year ago in April, tornadoes ripped through Smithville and Tuscaloosa, Ala., leaving in their wake death and a swath of destruction still visible.
Though tornados were spotted in the New Hope area and in Monroe County, the storms that hit our area Friday were relatively minor. Never mind schools were let out early, a catfish festival was postponed until Monday and a theater performance at Mississippi University for Women was canceled.
Not everywhere was so fortunate. In Indiana eight people were killed and two towns were destroyed Friday in what was the second deadly outburst of tornadoes this week.
Locally, we're not out of the woods yet. As we go to press Friday evening, strong thunderstorms are expected before midnight.
By morning we should be partly cloudy and significantly cooler than the 80 degrees we enjoyed Friday.
By Saturday night expect clear skies and almost freezing temps. See what we mean?
The Bradford pears, whose white flowers herald an approaching spring, are in full bloom. The violet tips of the red bud are beginning to peek out. Even some of the oaks show a hint of green. The daffodils have been yellow for weeks.
A press release issued by Mississippi State this week urged beekeepers to be mindful of food stores in their hives. Responding to the warm weather, plants are producing pollen but not nectar. When foraging bees return to the hive loaded with pollen, it signals to the queen to start laying eggs. If the honey stores of winter are depleted and the worker bees can't find food, the hive could starve.
We saw our first frogs this week. As it happens, they were spotted in a garden with two frog houses -- yes, Virginia, there is such a thing. Much to the delight of two young onlookers, the keeper of the garden introduced the frogs to their prospective homes. At last report the frogs were staying put, seemingly happy with their new digs.
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2. Ask Rufus: In 1819 this was Columbus, Alabama LOCAL COLUMNS
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5. Kathleen Parker: What we will look for Monday night NATIONAL COLUMNS