Normally I don’t start my blog with a video but this summer has been a time of extremes in Hot Springs National Park. The evening of August 11 2011 the view of Hot Springs Mountain vanished and was replaced by the scene in the video above. What the weather services reported as possible scattered thunder storms became straight line winds/eddy with continuous lightning. No weather alert was given during the entire three plus hours the storm raged. It must have been invisible on the Doppler Radar. The Storm brought down Trees, sheared off branches and drove a branch into the hot water cascade embedding it into rocks.
The park was battered and much of the once abundant wildlife in the Western slopes of Hot Springs Mountain have vanished. Trees that were once home to many Forest friends died or suffered amputations of their limbs. The first morning Rick and I ventured into the park we saw only Northern Mockingbirds (an adult (Pink) plus one chick), two House Finches and several insects. The next day I saw a solo Squirrel (Bob). Day three we saw a family of Robins, another Squirrel and several House Sparrows.
No sightings of the multi-generation families of Brown Thrashers, Blue Jays, Carolina Chickadees, Cardinals and Northern Mockingbirds. No sign of the other 14+ squirrels, 8+ Chipmunks or the Eastern Cottontail pair I have documented on the lower western slopes of Hot Springs Mountain. I hope to provide survivor updates over the next few weeks.
Life is Fragile… Nature is both beautiful and destructive…