Night Light

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At Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, FL, there is so much to see and do!  There are live shows (think “Lion King” and birds of prey), there are rides, there are stores and restaurants, there are fantasy worlds (think Avatar and Pandora) and, as you would imagine, there are animals!

At night, there is a spectacular show that takes place in a lagoon (man-made, I’m sure) that features small “boats” that float across the water in precise patterns spraying water into the air, large water cannons that throw huge streams of water into the air that makes a mist onto which they project images – all accompanied by music.

The shot I’m sharing today was taken when we were there in December 2017. It was a bitterly cold night in Florida and we weren’t prepared for it (it was supposed to be a fairly warm day, but as it turned out, the weather man missed that forecast by a long shot!) But we sat in the front row of the stands to watch this show. Did we get wet? Yeah, a bit, especially when the wind blew the mist in our direction, but it was absolutely worth it. If you ever go, be sure to watch the show. You won’t regret it!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1888, one of the worst blizzards in American history struck the Northeast, killing more than 400 people and dumping as much as 55 inches of snow in some areas. At the time, approximately one in every four Americans lived in the area between Washington, DC and Maine, the area affected by the Great Blizzard of 1888.

On March 10, temperatures in the Northeast hovered in the mid-50s. But on March 11, cold Arctic air from Canada collided with Gulf air from the south and temperatures plunged. Rain turned to snow and winds reached hurricane-strength levels. By midnight on March 11, gusts were recorded at 85 miles per hour in New York City.

Despite drifts that reached the second story of some buildings, many city residents trudged out to New York’s elevated trains to go to work, only to find many of them blocked by snow drifts and unable to move. Up to 15,000 people were stranded on the elevated trains; in many areas, enterprising people with ladders offered to rescue the passengers for a small fee. In addition to the trains, telegraph lines, water mains and gas lines were also located above ground. Each was no match for the powerful blizzard, freezing and then becoming inaccessible to repair crews. Simply walking the streets was perilous. In fact, only 30 people out of 1,000 were able to make it to the New York Stock Exchange for work; Wall Street was forced to close for three straight days. There were also several instances of people collapsing in snow drifts and dying, including Senator Roscoe Conkling, New York’s Republican Party leader.

Many New Yorkers camped out in hotel lobbies waiting for the worst of the blizzard to pass. Mark Twain was in New York at the time and was stranded at his hotel for several days. P.T. Barnum entertained some of the stranded at Madison Square Garden. The East River, running between Manhattan and Queens, froze over, an extremely rare occurrence. This inspired some brave souls to cross the river on foot, which proved a terrible mistake when the tides changed and broke up the ice, stranding the adventurers on ice floes. Overall, about 200 people were killed by the blizzard in New York City alone.

But New York was not the only area to suffer. Along the Atlantic coast, hundreds of boats were sunk in the high winds and heavy waves. The snowfall totals north of New York City were historic: Keene, NH, received 36 inches; New Haven, CT, got 45 inches; and Troy, NY, was hit by 55 inches of snow over 3 days. Thousands of wild and farm animals froze to death in the blizzard.

In the wake of the storm, officials realized the dangers of above-ground telegraph, water and gas lines and moved them below ground. In New York City, a similar determination was made about the trains, and within 10 years, construction began on an underground subway system that is still in use today.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In September 1999, daylight saving time helped prevent a terrorist bombing. When West Bank terrorists failed to realize that Israel had switched back to standard time, their bombs exploded an hour too early—killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims.

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