Pop Up Storms

One of the problems with pop up storms is it is often hard to get information on them, as weather announcers like to just blanket statement whatever will probably form. It is not as if they can observe a weather system’s behavior while it is heading towards an area. When the weather is ripe for it, the storms create themselves right where they are and the radar suddenly explodes with color where previously there was none. The sentence i had ahead of time was “isolated severe storms possible late Monday across the area.” Around 7 pm i heard one rumble of thunder. The dogs heard it too. It was clearly thunder. There was no mistaking it for a vehicle engine. It was close enough that it was definitively heard. I wondered why it hadn’t announced itself earlier and when i checked the radar i got my answer. It was a baby. It was just building, from a tiny yellow dot on the screen, to a blip with orange in the middle. Five minutes later the blip with orange now had 2 red spots surrounded by orange and then yellow. It was growing. It was exploding in the hot summer air. It was to the north east of us and headed in our direction once it spawned. I kicked myself for not getting the chores done earlier. I gave the dogs dinner and hurried them into the dog run for a chance to potty. Cashew didn’t want to go. She could hear the thunder and she didn’t want to be outside. I didn’t immediately see the system when i was doing the chores. It hadn’t come into view yet, but i could hear it. I hurried to the shed and got the trash can. I ran about the house collecting the trash and putting it in the can. I collected the trash from the car and added that in. Then i drug the trash can to the intersection. All the while it was thundering and Cashew was crying like a tortured banshee. I told her it was okay repeatedly while i fed the chickens and watered the plants, just in case it missed us. You never can tell with pop up storms. Sometimes they go right under or over you and miss you completely. The chickens did not have any eggs for me. I don’t know if that’s because they ate them or they just didn’t lay any. I didn’t really have time to wonder. I hurried the dogs in the house, having retrieved laundry soap and a dryer sheet from the shed. I also got more water from the well to have in the house for the night. I unplugged the internet, the electric dog fence; anything i could think of that had contact with the ground outside. I made sure both green lights were on when i glanced at the surge protector on the utility pole outside. I put a load of laundry in, in case we did lose power, so i didn’t have to worry about when it would come on again. Worst case scenario i could dry it on the laundry line and still have a clean work shirt for my next shift. Then, with thunder rumbling and the storm suddenly visible through the window, lightening ripping across the sky, i hopped in the shower. If we lost power the pump wouldn’t work to draw the well water, so i thought i better get clean now so i would be presentable for my zoom call for an exam no matter what. As i stood in the shower listening to the thunder i realized that it was the first scorching hot shower of the year. 98 degrees at 9:20 am meant that the water in the ground was now hot. When one turned on the tap, the water that came out was hot. One had to run the water a while until the well drew water from deeper in the ground to get cold water. What was already sitting in the pipes was hot. So, for the first time this year, i turned the shower dial half way rather than all the way to the “hot” side. I also had ten straight minutes of pleasant water; 8 hot and 2 very warm. I stepped out of the shower just in time to photograph the storm as it arrived. It was now a long stretch of red on the radar. The rain started immediately and obstructed my view. As i stared out the window i realized that the wind had picked up to an alarming speed. I knew what 60, 70 mph winds looked like and this was more. The laundry line tree stood at a 90 degree angle. The mimosa tree laid down against the ground and did not appear to be getting up any time soon. The rain collection buckets rolled and bounced across the property and headed for the fence. I threw the door open against my better judgment and went after them. I retrieved them before they made it to the intersection and drug them back where i braced them against the side of the house. Later i would find them on their side on the opposite side of the house so it was all for not. When i made it back into the house the sky was lit up with flashes. I checked the weather app and it stated that the nearest lightening strike was .1 miles from my location. The wind whipped the rain sideways and it began coming in under the front door and at the window unit. The spigot cover for the well house blew across the porch. It was at this moment that my phone refused to connect with internet using the phone data. It said an error had occurred and to try again later. I called my mother to see if it was just wind or a tornado warning. There were no tornados, no hail; just high winds. The lightening was touching down across the street and i began to fear it would set trees on fire. It lit up the sky and was incredibly noisy. The rain was being blown sideways into the windows and they began to quiver with each gust. The sound of the rain was loud and menacing as it hit the windows sideways. The dogs began to get antsy. Cashew began screaming and barking. I let them out of their crates and huddled them in the middle of the room, away from the windows, while the wind whipped the rain into the windows. It was quite the storm. There was a lot of wind and a lot of lightening, but we never lost power. Unfortunately, we didnt manage to collect very much of the rain water. The containers kept blowing away. I went out in the lightening twice to retrieve them but to no avail. Once the storm system had gone another developed behind it and pelted us some more. Storms were popping up on the radar all around us but they were moving away from us. When all was said and done it was 10 pm. I was thankful it had been a relatively uneventful storm. The dogs finally calmed down.

Update: i think i must have been right about the high winds. The cylindrical metal wire fencing was pulled up and over the fruit trees to end up lying on the ground. The zip ties holding the metal “no trespassing” signs on the property fence were snapped in half. The rope that was stapled to the piece of wood where i painted the property address number was ripped out from under one of the staples. It lay on the ground in front of the gate. I used dental floss and a zip tie to repair it. The property is mostly put back together but that was some wind. Not even the microburst of last year snapped the zip ties in half. The good thing was that a number of big grasshoppers died in the storm. I’m not sure how. I fed them to the chickens.

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