Pray For Rain

Alabama has been suffering from a drought for awhile now and with little relief in sight governor Bob Riley took action. Instead of announcing a comprehensive plan to switch to lesser-impact agriculture that uses more efficient irrigation systems, the governor’s plan is, well, a bit more speculative:

The governor issued a proclamation calling for a week of prayer for rain, beginning Saturday.

Riley encouraged Alabamians to pray “individually and in their houses of worship.”

“Throughout our history, Alabamians have turned in prayer to God to humbly ask for his blessings and to hold us steady during times of difficulty,” Riley said. “This drought is without question a time of great difficulty.”

A prepared statement included endorsements from the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Farmers Market Authority.

As much as I want to take the cheap shot here, I have to back off and default to my higher power: Charles Fort, Lo! part 2, chapter 4:

For months, there had been, in the Provinces of Murcia and Alicante, Spain, a drought so severe that inhabitants had been driven to emigration to Algeria. Whether we think of this drought and the prayers of the people as having relation or not, there came a downpour that was as intense as the necessities. See London Times, Oct. 20, 1879. Upon Oct. 14th, floods poured upon these parched provinces. Perhaps it was response to the prayers of the people. Five villages were destroyed. Fifteen hundred persons perished.

Isolated incident? Try again (also from Lo!):

At a meeting of the Royal Geographic Society, Dec. 11, 1922, Sir Francis Younghusband told of a drought, in August, 1906, in Western China. The chief magistrate in Chungking prayed for rain. He put more fervour into it. Then he prayed prodigiously for rain. It began to rain. Then something that was called “a waterspout” fell from the sky. Many of the inhabitants were drowned.

And what the heck, let’s dogpile on some more:

Droughts in Russia. Straits Times, June 6 — droughts ended by downpours in Bengal and Java. In Kashmir and in the Punjab, violent thunderstorms and earthquakes occurred together (Calcutta Statesman, June 1 and 3). In Turkey, there would have been extreme distress, but about the first of June, amidst woe and thanksgiving, destructive salvations demonstrated efficacy, and for a week kept on spreading joy and misery. Levant Herald, June 4 — earthquakes preceded deluges, and then continued with them.

I know I know, dodgy stories from the past by a crackpot who tracked fishfalls. But can we at least agree that it might be prudent to be careful what you wish for? Apparently, Governor Riley missed that day in school because a couple days later:

Just a couple days after Gov. Bob Riley called for residents to pray for rain, a series of strong thunderstorms brought torrential rain, flash floods and lightning to the area.

The storms didn’t match the intensity of Friday night’s bad weather, but still strong enough for the county to be under a severe thunderstorm warning part of the early afternoon.

Several areas also reported flooding, with one north Huntsville resident reporting water flowing out of the drainage ditches into her and neighbor’s yards, even knocking down a fence.

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2 Responses to Pray For Rain

  1. Matt Maxwell says:

    Don’t forget the rainmaker who got stiffed by the city of San Diego in the ‘teens and gave them their rain, and then a ton more. Don’t tick off rainmakers.

    And the reason why he’d ask for prayer instead of changes to agricultural methods? Well, prayer is cheap, let’s just say.

  2. Peter MacLaren says:

    This beseechment to the heavens for precipitation to alleviate drought is not limited to US state government; it’s an international phenomenon. Back in April, Prime Minister J. Howard of Australia made a similar request to his nation….. with similar results. One would have thought Riley might have noticed, if he took heed of what goes on overseas.

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