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Other Opinions: Yes, it's freezing, but it could be worse

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It's freezing! Could it get worse? Yes, and we're lucky it hasn't.

Northlanders are sparing few expletives when it comes to the sideways rain, plummeting temperatures and frigid, whip-right-through-you lake breezes that have been plaguing the region. There were even freeze warnings this week.

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Freeze warnings -- five days from June!

"Ask chicken-little when global warming is going to get here," one commenter wrote yesterday at duluthnews tribune.com. "It's almost June 1 and we had frost last night, while Rochester was 75 and sunny," another chimed in.

"Could the weather here be any worse?" griped yet another.

Actually, yes, it certainly could be.

Far more serious than the temperatures double-digits off from normal was the tornado that ripped through the St. Paul suburb of Hugo on Sunday, destroying 50 houses and damaging 159 others. Losses were estimated at $25 million, which paled in comparison to the human loss. A 2-year-old boy was killed after being thrown from his home by the twister and dumped into a pond on the other side of his back yard.

One of the men attempting to rescue the boy said he could smell gas and that he felt lucky there wasn't an explosion.

And more devastating by magnitudes of degrees was the wrath of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar earlier this month, which killed an estimated 78,000 people with another 56,000 still missing and countless others injured. The grim numbers are expected to rise as starvation and outbreaks of cholera, diarrhea and other deadly diseases are feared to be made worse by the coming monsoon season.

One woman whose husband was lost in the cyclone told an Associated Press reporter she was lucky because she was able to grab her 8-year-old son and scramble to the safety of a Buddhist monastery with a leaky roof -- hours before giving birth to a daughter.

Similar destruction and sorrow hit China, where a May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province took the lives of 67,000 people and left more than 360,000 others injured. Many survivors are living in cramped, often-unsanitary areas, resulting in widespread cases of diarrhea, tuberculosis and hepatitis.

More than a few survivors, however, commented to reporters about how lucky they were just to have survived.

Lucky. In the face of killer natural disasters including earthquakes, cyclones and tornados, some are able to find good fortune. Meanwhile, in Duluth, where temperatures have slipped into the 30s in late May, maybe killing a few uncovered tomato plants, one online respondent yesterday asked, "Could someone explain why we [live] here?"

Yes. Hugo, Myanmar and China make it clear how lucky we are that we do. -- Duluth News Tribune

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