How To Stay Positive On A Rainy Day

This Weather Sucks—But Here Are A Few Simple Tricks That Will Help You To Look On The Bright Side

If you live in North Carolina — or anywhere on the East coast — you know that this weather can really bring you down.

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February is not known to have nice weather, especially on the East coast. After my almost 20 years of living in North Carolina, I have learned that February is usually a very cold and wet month. But every year, we get that one week when the weather is sunny and 75, causing the following week of freezing rain and wind to be even more unbearable than usual.

However, there is something refreshing about the weather actually following the seasons — you know, with the stark reality of climate change and global warming. Despite all of this, I have some tried and true ways of staying happy and positive even when the weather is testing you.

The most important items for a rainy day in February are a cute umbrella, stylish rain boots, and a warm water-resistant jacket. Without these things, you probably would not see me walking to classes. It's just the truth. It might just be me, but having sensible and stylish clothing items is very important for boosting my mood, especially when it comes to rainy days. No one likes to be unprepared on a rainy day.

If you can't find the motivation to get out of your room (or your bed), there are still ways that you can make your rainy day more positive. Maybe you turn your day into a productive cleaning or work session, or maybe you cuddle up on the couch and watch Netflix, but either way, a rainy day doesn't have to be a bad day.

It might be cliche, but one of my favorite things to do on a rainy day is to grab a blanket and a warm cup of coffee and read my book. I have always looked at rainy days as a time to relax and stay in, even if it is just for a small portion of my day.

So for this rainy week, be sure to take some time for yourself and relax, even if it is for an hour after work or class. The simple act of giving yourself time to recharge is so important for making your rainy day not so dreary. Also, don't forget your umbrella!

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5 Facts You Didn't Know About Sunsets

Summer is the best sunset watching season
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One of the things I love to do during the summer is watch sunsets. I realized, though, that I didn't know too much about them so I decided to look up some interesting facts. So the next time you look at a sunset you can impress the person you are with by your knowledge of sunset trivia.

1. Sunsets happen because of the Earth's atmosphere

If the Earth was airless, let's say, like the moon then the sun would look the same as it was dropping behind the horizon. But due to our 300 mile atmosphere, we get the scattered effect of light as the atmosphere acts as a prism.

2. The sun starts to lose color as it sets

As the sun starts dropping to the horizon it starts to lose its blue wavelength hues, then its green and yellow hues, and eventually orange, leaving only red wavelengths. That is why the sun at the end of a sunset will look like a ball of fire.

3. By the time you see the sun set, it's actually gone

Have you ever been told that some of the stars you are looking at are already dead because of the time it takes the light to travel? Well the same thing sorta happens with the sun, except the sun doesn't die every night. Again thanks to our atmosphere, which bends light, we are able to see the sun setting. If this is a little confusing, please look at the picture below.

4. Pollution causes those prettier sunsets

Sad, isn't it? It will make you think twice when you look at a stunning sunset. Smoke particles are great for filtering out colors, leaving pinks, reds, and oranges become more vivid. But if pollution gets too high, the sky will just look hazy, leaving a murky sunset that no one really appreciates. This is happening a lot in Rome due to their pollution problem.

5. "Red sky at night, shepherd's delight; red sky in morning, shepherd's take warning." This quote is actually true.

The bright, red, pure colors at night mean that the air is clear to the west and will be good weather in the morning. A red sky in the morning means that good, high pressure weather has already passed meaning low pressure weather (storms) will be coming to the east.

Cover Image Credit: scoutfitters.org

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The Expense Of Hurricanes Should Not Be A Burden For Everyone

Imagine if the state of Florida stepped in and stopped the rebuilding and development of these areas that are prone to devastation, may cause the possibility of lowering homeowners' insurance for the rest of the citizens in Florida.

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The 2019 hurricane season starts in less than two months and I am wondering with the devastation that these storms cause on the shores of our country, when do we decide enough is enough and not allow victims to return and rebuild.

The official season for hurricanes is June 1st through November 30th. However, I want to focus primarily on the Florida coastal waters and the effects hurricanes have had on the state. Hurricane Michael depleted over and above the funds allocated for last year's storm season and it looks like Florida will start this season at a loss once again.

After Hurricane Andrew, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF). "The FHCF acts as a state-administered reinsurance program and is mandatory for residential property insurers writing covered policies in Florida. As of June 2018, this fund has a loss of ($1,279,762.00). The amount posted for hurricane losses is $2.5 billion. This loss was recorded well in advance of Hurricane Michael, hitting the panhandle in October 2018 with an estimated cost of damages of $25 billion.

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation was also established after Hurricane Andrew. It was created to provide coverage for home-owners that can't obtain insurance elsewhere. It is a not-for-profit insurer and is considered a last resort for homeowners. As the price of new homes increases so does the rate of homeowner insurance and many homeowners from the Keys to the Panhandle have seen their rates increase annually by 10% since 2010. This begs the question, why would anyone want to keep paying higher homeowners insurance year after year? With a higher percentage of Florida citizens in the retirement age, it seems that owning a home is more of a burden in areas that are prone to hurricanes.

When Hurricane Maria devasted Puerto Rico, it left the entire island in need of massive infrastructure rebuilding. Not only the political implications of the lack of funding for the island, but the images of destruction and personal suffering was heart-wrenching. Some are of the belief there is an economic benefit from a hurricane. After the initial blow to retail, fast food, and hospitals, there is a regrowth that puts many people back to work, if only for a temporary period and another hurricane does not come to make its way to that area for the next seven to ten years.

Yet, according to https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/, their models project that Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms are substantially reduced in number, but have higher rainfall rates, particularly near the storm center, as well as potential higher intensity. This can be true for winter storms as well. Many of us have been caught in an airport or up in a northern state in the winter months and have difficulty returning to the sunshine state because of a storm that has pounded inches of snow along its path like a hurricane from the frozen tundra.

No one should be allowed to build a home in a floodplain or a flood zone. For that matter, areas that have been prone to wildfires, or fault lines. If every state looked at the areas that have been continuously destroyed by mother nature, and calculated the cost incurred to rebuild, decided to stop the bleeding and zone those areas as hazards, uninhabitable, or just government property, they will save billions of dollars for other much-needed services.

Imagine if the state of Florida stepped in and stopped the rebuilding and development of these areas that are prone to devastation, may cause the possibility of lowering homeowners' insurance for the rest of the citizens in Florida. The basic questions are, should Florida allow citizens to rebuild once their homes have been destroyed by a tropical storm? Think of it as an automobile, if the house is totaled the insurance company replaces the home. Just not in the same location.

The government has a duty to protect its citizens, and by that definition are in their rights to tell homeowners and developers the devastated area is no longer available for rebuilding. At what cost both financially and in human lives do the citizens of Florida allow the coastlines to be developed or rebuilt? If the developers and homeowners can rebuild the rest of the taxpayers and homeowners should not have to pay the increase in insurance rates or a hurricane relief tax.

The taxpayers of Florida don't want to pay a hurricane tax, they don't have a choice. Their elected officials side with the developers and the large money donor homeowners. Maybe the beach that has that $2 million home isn't meant to be there. Of course, there is a great view and the ocean or gulf coast is at your feet, as the shoreline slowly covers your property. Yet the erosion isn't going to happen in the next few years so why worry?

I can't understand why a person wants to own a home that no insurance company will insure. If these million-dollar homes on beaches meant for sunbathing, surfing, fishing, and Florida wildlife, are forever a part of Florida, maybe these homeowners need to be self-insured. Be solely responsible for the environment they own. Yet, the state of Florida has created legislation to help these people and can't figure out how to make affordable housing for the rest of the state.

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