Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘thunder

Much Quieter

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Thank goodness it was much quieter last night than it was Tuesday night with all the stormy weather. There were two rounds of thunderstorms that actually disturbed the wee hours of Wednesday morning. It was around 1:00 a.m. that Delilah and I woke up to the rumbles of thunder. Then the rain and wind picked up and Delilah was barking ferociously at the flashes and booms.

Eventually, one of the strikes got close and the energy of the dog, of me, and of the storm all perked up considerably. I certainly didn’t need what came next. BANG! My least favorite aspect of a thunderstorm. The flash and boom were simultaneous and my first impression was that the lightning bolt hit our house or a tree right next to it.

I didn’t feel like the electricity of the lightning shocked me but the adrenaline shooting through my body was causing about the same reaction as though it had. In the darkness between flashes, I couldn’t see how severe the wind was so I relied on sound to help me decide whether any action was required or not.

The fact that there were suddenly emergency vehicle sirens wailing didn’t provide much comfort. I scouted every window for a possible view of emergency lights flashing but saw none. With no useful information gained, I decided to return to bed where I updated the radar views repeatedly while waiting for the storm to run its course.

By the time the second storm woke me, I was too sleepy to worry much. It looked less intense on the radar, the thundering was much less, and Delilah must have decided not to bother even barking. I fell right back to sleep.

When morning arrived and I got Delilah out for her first walk of the day, we quickly arrived at the first evidence of the intensity of the storm. The top of a tree with a 12-inch diameter trunk snapped clean and came down across one of our trails.

There were smaller branches down everywhere. A tree in our woods fell and got hung up on the trunk of another tree so it is now at a 45° angle.

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There was a branch down in the paddock under the willow tree and several branches from a cottonwood on the southern edge of our property flew all the way into the hay field.

I spent most of the morning cutting up and hauling branches away, all the while keeping an eye out for any sign of a direct hit from that closest lightning strike. Never spotted anything telling. A fuse blew in the controller of the electric fence. Imagine what it must have been like for the horses. They were remarkably mellow when we showed up to serve their morning feed.

The most mysterious feature was the large swath of tall grass in the drainage ditch that was pressed flat to the ground in the opposite direction of the water flow. Must have been a downburst of wind that flattened it that way.

Thankfully, there was never any hail that I heard. The lack of any residual shredding of leaves helps support that perception. As for rain, the gauges had barely an inch captured.

The part of the noisy night that sticks with me most is the intensity of that loud clap of thunder and how it was soon followed by sirens.

Sleeping last night was infinitely more restful.

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Written by johnwhays

August 4, 2022 at 6:00 am

Wetter Today

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There is nothing quite like the ripping of rain-soaked air by the high heat energy of a lightning strike that explodes in close proximity. That ever so brief searing tear of the atmospheric fabric, then accented by a concussive BOOM! that startles even though it is obviously about to happen, is the stuff of my childhood terrors.

Even some of the kabooms from farther away that don’t trigger a panic reaction are powerful enough that the walls of our house creak and windows flex. And, yes, it makes our dog bark in a faux bravery attempt to shout down the perceived threat.

We knew this stormy weather was coming. A whole weekend of it. The future predictors (meteorologists) told us about it, right down to the hours when it would be intense.

I lucked out yesterday, as the partially cloudy day stayed dry in our area, though radar indicated it was rainy just to our south. It allowed me to get the already too long grass mowed in the nick of time, and then squeak in my very first bike ride of the season.

No pressure or anything, but I did register for another week of biking and camping in June, so conditioning my butt to tolerate extended hours on the saddle is once again on my to-do list.

There are worse burdens in this world.

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Getting back out on the open road, seeing an endless ribbon of pavement rolled out before me, breathing (panting) the fresh country air, having close encounters with protective old farm dogs, waving at folks gawking at the silly human pedaling for conveyance, is both physical exercise and mental refreshment.

Feeling the wind pushing against your face, as well as from behind, since I chose to ride in a big square of all four directions, connects with the elements in a way that car travel completely eliminates.

In my current living situation, claiming hours for pedaling along idly doesn’t happen without a bigger reason to force it, so the bike trip becomes something of a cause and effect. It’s not like the old days when I would ride my bike for miles, to and from work every day. Back then, by the time June came around, I was more than prepared for day-long rides.

I am grateful that I was able to launch my road bike for its season opener on a dry day yesterday. If I am to follow that up with a second ride this weekend, it’s going to be much wetter.

Just like those future-tellers predicted.

Hopefully, I can time it so as to avoid the lightning and thunder.

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Written by johnwhays

May 18, 2019 at 7:58 am

Serious Soaking

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First, I want to share an image that I received from Cyndie yesterday morning after she read my post. Exhibit A:

She had forgotten to send it earlier, but my description of how Delilah loves rubbing her snout in the snow reminded her.

Just as I predicted, there is very little snow left now. It was very gloomy all day, and rained throughout, but being mostly chained to my desk, I didn’t really notice how much rain actually fell. All I had to go on for what was happening across the state line at home, was the weather radar.

My main concern was over how the thunder might be upsetting Delilah. I wasn’t sure about what hours she might have the company of Anna, our animal sitter who helps out between classes at University of Wisconsin – River Falls. It’s hard to pinpoint the minutes of big thunder claps booming.

I did find the telltale evidence of a throw rug at the deck door pushed up into a pile, indicative of her usual tizzy of “shouting” down the big bully who is threatening us with all that rumbling noise.

From her location and behavior when I walked in the door, I’m guessing she tired of the stormy weather and took refuge in the one place without windows. She didn’t get up until after I walked in –an uncharacteristic behavior– from the rug in a short hallway between bathroom and bedrooms, where she had obviously been sleeping.

The situation at home turned out to be an anti-climax to the alarming sights I witnessed on my drive after passing through River Falls. The whole way from work was wet, but closer to home there must have been an extreme downpour.

Just south of River Falls, I spotted the first epic flooding, where it was pouring over a side road, making it impassable. A short distance later, I noticed a car turning around on an adjoining County road. As my car moved past the intersection, I saw that a highway crew was trying to deal with a missing lane of asphalt that had washed away.

Five miles from home, I cross what is usually a little meandering stream, but the outlines of the banks were completely indistinguishable beneath what was now a giant flowing lake.

The water flowing in ditches looked like raging rivers. I worried about what I might find at home.

Luckily, although there was an abnormal about of water wherever I looked, the damage was minimal.

We now have a pretty significant washout on the path around the back pasture. I’m afraid I will need to resort to a bridge over that gully now, if I want to keep mowing that route with the lawn tractor.

It used to be a slight depression that I could drop into and drive up out of, to keep mowing without interruption. Any attempt to repair the gulf with fill, so I could continue to drive over it, would just get washed away with the next heavy rain.

That spot is calling for a load of field rocks, which then leads me to the plan of needing a bridge for the lawn mower.

Our land is in a constant state of change. I think the rate of change is accelerating due to a certain alteration of the global climate.

It’s intimidating.

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Written by johnwhays

April 18, 2019 at 6:00 am

Distant Thunder

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We had plenty of warning last night that heavy weather was going to visit. The majority of thundering was happening well to our south for about an hour before it moved in and started dropping rain on us. The sun was just setting when the edge of the billowing tower of clouds became visible, giving them a foreboding glow.

It was a late night for me, as I crammed to get some manure management done before we head out of town for the weekend. It’s a job I have been neglecting for enough days that it was going to be a problem for our horse-sitter while we are gone if I didn’t do something before leaving.

And, we are leaving this afternoon. In fact, I am leaving from work. Our plan is to meet at the airport in Eden Prairie to fly to Barb and Mike’s lake place near Grand Rapids.

After completing my manure chores, I needed to haul some hay into the barn for the weekend. Then it was time to shower and pack. I struggle every night just figuring out what I will wear the next morning for work, and that got amplified last night by needing to also think through a weekend of possible needs.

Since we are flying four people in a small plane, the goal is to pack light.

It’s a great recipe for forgetting something, if you ask me.

I packed a swim suit, and my sunglasses, so I at least have the essentials if something else was overlooked.

Now we are just hoping there is no thunder happening along our flight path during the hours we hope to fly. If the weather isn’t friendly enough, we’ll simply drive up north instead. Which, in that case, would mean I could then haul up more than I need, like I usually tend to do.

Maybe I should toss all my heavy non-essential items in my car just in case. It usually turns out that if I bring extra stuff, I won’t have a need for it. The need only arises if I don’t bring something.

It’s like a law of physics or something. Probably a cousin of Murphy’s Law.

Wish us some flying luck! It’ll be pretty sweet if we are able to pull it off. Who wouldn’t want to cut the travel time to the lake in half?

Here’s hoping any thunder is REALLY distant during the appointed hours of our planned travel.

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Written by johnwhays

July 20, 2017 at 6:00 am

Flash Booms!

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Radar11112015Holy cow, did we experience a flurry of lightning and thunder last night. If I didn’t know better, I would have guessed we were in the month of June, based on the lightning laced downpours I traveled through on my commute home after work.

By the time I pulled in our driveway, Cyndie already had the horses in the barn for the night. Subsequent checks on them through the evening revealed signs they were appreciative of the shelter, yet still needing to manage some nervousness over the fireworks of the storm.

Someone else was failing miserably at managing her nervousness about the cracking and booming that repeatedly burst forth overhead. Poor Delilah couldn’t keep herself from trying to out-shout the mysterious noises erupting from the high heavens.

We reacquainted her with her Thundershirt and let her sample some doggie downers in hopes of saving her heart from premature failure. There was no pausing the thunderstorm, so she needed other sources of relief.

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Dinner time occurred at one of the storming peaks, but she soldiered through the inhalation of her meal (which actually should have required some chewing) and kept up her “defense” against the noisy invader without hesitation.

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Written by johnwhays

November 12, 2015 at 7:00 am