Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crazy Weather We're Just Not Used To!

I hope you've enjoyed the link to the photo I posted a few days ago. I was amazed to see the size of Hurricane Bill taken by the International Space Station!

In New England, our joke is that if you don't like the weather, just wait 10 minutes and it will change. This is so true. I've seen the temperature go from the the high 60s down to the low 30s in one day, for example.

However, this was a horse of a different color. We had a tornado watch here in New England yesterday evening. I can only remember 4 watches in my entire life growing up here. Plus, years ago, there was an actual tornado that came through and broke my parents' GIGANTIC, Ohio Buckeye tree right in half. I was away at college during that one. My loved ones and our property was just fine.

I remember another watch when I was about 12 years old. The other 3 happened in the last two years, two of which happened THIS SUMMER including said one last night.

I have seen on TV the kind of devastation that tornadoes can do, but here, they are very rare. There are a lot of hills and even mountains that make them unlikely because they weaken so quickly. So, I am a newbie when it comes to those kinds of watches! Dangerous snowstorms and extreme cold are nothing unusual to us, well, in the winter.

If you're not a weather nerd like I am, you may not know that a "watch" means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form and "warnings" mean that one or more have been spotted. The one earlier this summer was indeed a warning, but for a short time. It hit about 10 miles from here and was actually a "microburst" and not a tornado.

Last night's was nothing more than a "watch" but it lasted for three hours. My husband who was commuting home from work (and worrying us all sick) said he could see layers of different color clouds that were swirling around! I did notice that the air was EXACTLY like it was a few weeks ago when we had the warning: oppressively humid and still. Tornado behavior 101.

As the clouds got darker and darker, we noticed the trees were blowing one way and then a few seconds later, they blew in the opposite direction. Since it was only a "watch" we didn't have to go to the basement right away or as New Englanders call it, "down cellar".

However, as I always am, I was glued to the weather reports. A severe thunderstorm warning then came ON TOP of the tornado watch and advised us to go to the basement "just in case" tornadoes were spawned from the current thunderstorms.

The kids and I were in the middle of our Friday night pizza and Dad wasn't home yet. He was delayed because of weather-related downpours. We took our paper plates down to the unfinished part of our partially-finished basement along with a battery-operated radio. We were down there for a good 1/2 hour before THAT thunderstorm was over and then we could go back up and wait for the watch and/or tornado spawns to happen.

All's well that ends well. No issues, hardly any wind, but we were so glad to see Dad walk through that door. In our basement, we also have our food pantry so the kids got into a post-dinner snack. I was less than pleased that there were crumbs on the floor, but that was the extent of the storm damage.

Apparently, Hurricane Bill had nothing to do with it other than "he" was pulling the humid air in our area into the cold front, causing the storms in our area. The coast got a good beating, but we don't live close to it.

We had to miss my sister-in-law's baby shower today because it was still going to be stormy for the entire drive up to Canada (where my husband is from). It was a bummer, but everyone waiting for us understood completely and didn't want us to make a drive that was not safe for us and our 4 darlings. It's at least a 7-hour drive with the kids (including stops, meals, snacks).

Apparently, another one of my sister-in-laws from a different part of Canada was able to make it to the shower, however, she and her two kids had been hiding in HER basement (they call it a basement in Canada) on Thursday! She had never experienced ANYTHING like it and I felt like a veteran compared to her. Sadly, there was a tornado near where she lived and a young boy wsa killed. Hopefully, we newbies won't have to worry about cowering in our basement anymore this summer!

Anybody got any good storm stories? Anyone else a weather bug like me?


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