Nature and Science
Mary's Nightmare

- Gene Moore

This region of the Midwest experiences seasonal changes that include intense spring rains, exhausting summer heat and humidity, near-perfect autumn temperatures, and freezing winters. By far the most dramatic weather feature of this area are the frequent lightning storms of spring and summer. Lightning storms were a common occurrence on the prairie in central Illinois. Mary Lincoln was fearful of the fierce lightning storms that flashed vertical and horizontal bolts of light across the sky. Mr. Lincoln, in an attempt to quell some of Mary's fears, purchased the lightning rods seen on the Lincoln Home. These served as a protective measure against the fierce storms. Today, strong thunderstorms continue to light up the sky and cause damage to the area. In August of 2001, the American Linden tree (next to the Lincoln Home) was hit by a powerful gust of wind, damaging a large portion of the tree and the north portion of the Lincoln Home fence (it just missed the house!). In the Spring of 2002, lightning struck a silver maple in front of the Robinson house in Mr. Lincoln's neighborhood.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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