SEASONS: Spring: It's Lethal and Lovely

It has always been a threat as well as a promise. It entices the winter-weary by flaunting balmy temperatures, azure skies and buds bursting into blazing color. Children break out their bicycles, college students recline and pretend to study on the mall, and Americans of all ages tilt pale faces to catch the first warming rays of the sun.

But just as surely as it woos them, spring rebuffs its admirers, slapping them with stinging hail, destructive tornadoes and rapacious rivers. After the worst winter on record, spring's capriciousness last week was...

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