September 1, 2015

Tracey and I were sitting on the back patio watching lightning flash to our west and to our east. The top of a huge thunderhead east of us was bathed in a fiery salmon color as the sun went down, but it seemed to be moving to the north and away from us. As it got dark, the storm to the west of us seemed another thing entirely, as the lightning flashes became more numerous and started to wrap around to our northwest and southwest. We were certain someone was getting smashed, but neither of us thought we’d get anything but perhaps a glancing blow from its eastern end as that storm too seemed to be moving to the north.

Normally when I see these kinds of conditions I head to the Weather Underground or Accuweather websites to get a look at the radar, but we were just enjoying the night and our cocktails, and the non-stop lightning and increasing thunder to our west was a sight to see. And even though it seemed the lightning and thunder were growing in intensity we both still thought the storm was going to pass to our west.

A little breeze began to kick up and the wind chimes began to tinkle happily. The lightning to the northwest was really getting intense, so I decided to go out front to get a better look. I walked down the driveway to the street to get a better look and it was really something else. A streak of lightning appeared directly overhead, and when I looked up a big fat raindrop hit me square in the face. And then another one and another one. Heading back up the driveway I could hear a blast of wind to our west heading towards us, and it hit just as I made it to front door.

No more than fifteen seconds later I walk out the back door and it looks like a hurricane has blown in – very strong wind and a driving rain that was moving sideways. Now the thunder and lightning were more overhead, but you could barely hear the thunder because of the commotion being made by the trees, the wind, and the rain. It all came in blasts, and all of a sudden a very big gust hit. I heard a branch break and you could actually feel the house shudder. I told Tracey that had to be at least 60 MPH. The high-voltage power lines across the street were wailing with a high pitch as yet another blast hit us. I headed out to the front once again and saw the decorative Cyprus tree in a lovely colorful Mexican pot tipped over across the doorway. Fortunately, the pot hadn’t broken, so I put it back in place. And just then a really big blast hit, and the tree again toppled over in a big way, smashing the pot to bits before my very eyes.

I went out back and could see that our big Mesquite tree now had some branches sagging towards the ground and on top of the Tiki bar, so I knew it had gotten damaged. The rain came down in sheets and the wind just kept on going. Twenty minutes later, the rolling thunder and lightning had freight trained its way east, and Tracey and I enjoyed what was left of the rain in the pool, which at 94 degrees was now warmer than the air temperature which had dropped a whole fifteen degrees in the storm; the thermometer now read 88 degrees.

This morning I took a walk outside and saw the Palo Verde tree down the end of the street had taken a beating:

Tracey said that some big trees were downed on the next street over. This afternoon you could hear chainsaws in every direction as clean-up crews got to work. Taking a walk out back I noticed that one can look straight up from under our Mesquite tree and see a whole bunch of clear sky where some big branches were – branches that are now low-hanging just above the ground and on top of the Tiki bar:

I’m gonna put this storm in the top five we’ve experienced in the dozen years we’ve lived here in the Valley. Its power and magnitude storm was really something to behold, and lots of folks are still impacted. You never know what you’re gonna get during monsoon season, and we’ve still got a month left to go.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:53 | Comments Off on Monsoon Mayhem
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