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The Day The Fire Came


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The Day The Fire Came

A tale of love and loss on the Plains.


On the morning of March 1, Todd Lindley, a forty-year-old science and operations officer with the National Weather Service, walked into his office in Norman, Oklahoma, and sat down in front of his four computer screens. Lindley specializes in weather on the southern Great Plains, a mostly flat five-hundred-mile expanse that runs from Kansas to just below the Panhandle of Texas. That morning, on one of the screens, he noticed a storm system that meteorologists call a “midlatitude cyclone,” a pinwheel of clouds spinning counterclockwise over the open waters of the Pacific, two thousand miles away. Lindley wheeled his chair closer to that screen and typed a few commands on the keyboard. The computer projected that the midlatitude cyclone would reach the northwestern coastline of the United States by March 3, head toward the Rocky Mountains, and swoop down on to the southern Great Plains on March 6, bringing with it wind gusts of at least 50 miles an hour.

 Lindley stared at his screen for several seconds. Then he murmured a single word. “Fire.”  :snip: 


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