Saturday, August 22, 2009

:::Hurricane Bill:::

We are in the beginning of hurricane season here in the Atlantic Basin, and I'm as excited as ever. I love all types of severe weather that aren't related to heat or humidity. Give me your blizzards, your hailstorms, your downpours, your raging winds any day. I love watching the earth and the atmosphere step up and show off its power. Of course, I realize that weather can cause severe damage and deaths. I never wish for that. I just love the proportions -- the sublime nature -- of a good show.

This weekend Mr. Bill is making his way up the seaboard, currently about 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The great thing about living in DC is that we rarely get the full brunt of any of these big storms, just the fun side effects like ear splitting thunder and blinding white lightening that flashes in rapid pulses across the sky. I love to count how many miles away the storm is between thunder crashes and lightening bolts...one, one-thousand, two, one-thousand, three, one-thousand...it actually works, it really does. The rain never comes until these sky theatrics are over, that is something I've learned over time. You still have time to run for cover while the sky is rocking and rolling. But after that, the faucet is turned on full blast and streets flood within seconds.

I remember my first summer here I was waiting on a street a few blocks away from here to pick up a Zipcar. A storm fell on the city, and the thunder was so painfully sharp and deep and LOUD that I had to plug my ears. There is so much concrete and brick and stone here that the sounds are amplified a million times over. This thunder is BIG. You can't be heard over it. It literally resonates in your rib cage.

After a few minutes of thunder and lightening and hovering under a pine tree for meager shelter, the rain came tumbling down. I watched the street completely flood within 3 minutes. It was one of the most amazing phenomenons I've ever witnessed. Needless to say that I was completely soaked through and through, and when I finally got into the car I could hardly drive because the windshield wipers couldn't keep up with the downpour.

And then, as quickly as it began, it was over. The water washed away and the storm clouds moved on. Within a half and hour the sky was blue and clear. Sciz-o, for certain, but I love it.


During the summer I sleep with my window open at night to let the cool air in. Early this morning at 4:20 am I was jarred out of my sleep by the sounds of warfare in the sky. I laid (lay?) there in complete awe until I had to shut the window because my ears started to ache. Just imagine having both ears pressed up against shooting rifles. It's so cool to hear nature make sounds that big and broad.

When the lightening came, I finally got out of bed and grabbed my camera. My window was shut by this point, and the best of the thunder had passed, though you can still hear some rumblings over the sound of my fan. You have to see this lightening though. When it's really going good it's like someone is holding a strobe light outside of your window.

video

This time the rain that followed was very tame and, par for the course, lasted only for a few minutes.

I think it's funny how easy this post was for me to write, when usually I really struggle to put something together and give words to my thoughts. I just really like weather. Growing up in Southern California I was always so annoyed by our tame weather. One of my favorite memories happened when El Nino passed through and we all thought we were going to die. I was sick during the worst week of it, and I remember laying on the couch near the tv and watching nothing but weather reports all day long. By the time I went back to school I was a weather guru. During PE my friends kept coming up to me and asking me questions about the storm and I would tell them all about storm cells and pressure zones. Seriously, I have two good memories from high school, and that is one of them.

Continuous coverage here and here. It looks like Bill is going to stay out to sea and cause most of his problems further north and into Halifax and Nova Scotia, but you never know. Landfall! Landfall! Landfall! Cross your fingers.

3 comments:

Jill said...

Wow, you've got a lot of affection for the weather, who knew? The video of the lightning was pretty cool, we just don't get storms like that here in Utah.

I'm sad that you only have 2 good memories from high school and that El Nino was one of them!

michelle said...

I love those kinds of storms. It's so cool when you get those sudden huge downpours and then they move on just as suddenly. Love the thunder and lightning, too. We don't get anything like that around here.

I too was struck by only having two good memories of high school, that's too sad.

emilysuze said...

I miss hurricane season. :( I'm glad that I'm not the only one who enjoys stuff like that. Can't wait to make it back to the East Coast.