Tuesday, June 14, 2005

First Sweet Storm of the Year

Downtown at 9:00 p.m.

The thing about a good storm is it reminds you that you are alive. All of your senses are as electrified as the atmosphere. It's hard to keep your eyes from what truly is an awesome sight as clouds roll over each other and lightning violently pierces the ground. Your nose picks up the smell of ozone in the air. Your ears note the constant low rumble of thunder, and your skin feels the tingle of the suddenly cold breeze...

The Twin Cities has its first major weather event of the summer and my daughter and I had a front row seat. We were about 15 miles north of St. Paul when this baby dropped on us like a bomb, just minutes before her scheduled soccer game in Lino Lakes.

Just across the river around 8:00 p.m.

Temperatures dropped from 80 to 65 in about 15 seconds, and torrential downpours reduced visibility to about zero. Without warning, winds began to gust at about 45-50 mph, almost ripping my white-board (I coach) out of my hands. As we ran to our vehicle, the rain became horizontal and soaked us through in about five seconds.

The drive home became an exercise in outrunning a storm. With roads utterly awash, lightning everywhere, and tornado warnings crawling up our back, we marked the edge of the wall cloud to the east and headed straight for it. We managed to outrun it in Forest Lake, and took a moment to get out of the car and take a peek. To the west it looked like midnight, if midnight were the color of pea soup and rolling over itself.

The west metro around 7:30

We jumped back in the car and spent the next 15 minutes driving along the eastern edge of the wall cloud, which is where the wind is. As we were tossed side to side, it's struck me as a bit like surfing a massive easterly wave.

And another thing. Nothing brings people out of doors like a major storm. People all along our route stood in their yard, watching the beast. Some worrying that the storm would turn east, other with that "come and get me" look painted on their face, which always brings rise to a smile for me.

God I love this time of year. And, all in all, not a bad start either. A few thousand lost power for awhile, there was hail, tornado threats, floods...the whole shooting match. God I love this time of year. Or, did I mention that?

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