Friday, August 21, 2009

Storm Warning—Dangerous Weather


I’m not one to run for cover at the first grumble of lightning.  I walk daily, and camp a fair amount, so I’ve been caught outdoors through some truly awful weather in my life.  I’ve seen disco ball lightning, green skies, and rotating clouds (mesocyclones) and once, an infant funnel cloud.  I’ve heard the skies above me roar like a hundred freight trains (I was camping that night, and miraculously, fell asleep to this sonnet to awake to downed trees all around).  So, needless to say, I don’t often let a distant rumble dictate my actions.  In fact, storm warnings being frequent in summer, I have a tendency to ignore them entirely, and soldier on through rain, sleet and snow.  However, out last night for my walk, things just felt different.  The distant rumble of thunder bothered me not at all, but a peculiar stillness in the air was oppressive.  The sweating heaviness of the atmosphere that pressed in from all directions, and there was a sundown darkness at what should have been late afternoon.  This time I cut my walk short, before even a drop of rain touched down.

At home, I the television screen was painted solid red with storm warnings blanketing the entirety of Southern Ontario.  And the weatherman, who gleefully pumps up every spot of turbulence in an ordinary storm, actually looked remarkably tense, as he listed town after town under tornado warning, ours included. 

I did the next thing I rarely do, and herded the cats into the basement.   This, not for their safekeeping, but to protect my dear husband, who, at the sight of a black funnel cloud bearing down, would surely spend all of his time hunting for them.  Once the fluffy ones were safely stored, of course we trouped back upstairs to watch the show.  Such spectacles are irresistible.  Beneath the centre of a mesocyclone (a horizontally rotating cloud, numerous yesterday) it was eerily calm.  Not a breath stirred the leaves as the rain came down and lightning flickered, but soon enough, the wind picked up and as I said, “hmmm…the skies are looking a little greenish” we trouped back below to the basement and sat things out.

Nothing happened our way, but a serious damaged occurred elsewhere, with several tornadoes touching down in Vaughan, Woodbridge, and a town called Durham, and those are the confirmed cases.

Image: watercolour postcard sized, the best I could do from memory.  The sunset in the aftermath was astounding.

And here: some YouTube action I thankfully missed out on. Vaughan Tornado


Chrissy said...

Glad you are ok, you and yours. Those sort of things scare me senseless, I don't care about a storm and thunder but tornado's, cyclones, anything like that just freaks me out. Take care! XX

Jennifer Rose said...

glad that everyone is all right! was scary reading about the damamge

kaslkaos said...

Yeh, we're fine. But we had friends send us an email that said, "Please Respond."!
I seem to have an unhealthy fascination with storms, I watch them when I ought to be hiding.

Michelle (artscapes) said...

The painting is gorgeous...!! And I am glad you guys escaped the worst.

Storms are taken pretty seriously by my family. My grandparents held the basement door shut while a tornado ripped their house apart and sent steel beams through their windows in Barrie in '85. They were lucky.

Thursday - we were. The south side of town (1km away) was badly damaged, power lines were on the ground because the poles were snapped and one of the parks here known for its majestic pines is closed 'til further notice. Nearly ever tree at the south end was damaged or came down. Most structural damage was a result of huge trees collapsing roofs. Power has yet to be restored to a large part of Gravenhurst. We have our power back because happen to be in the 'right' part of the grid.

It seems they aren't sure if it was a tornado or downdraft - but the south end won't look the same again in my lifetime. Most of the 100 year old + pines are gone.

kaslkaos said...

Glad you checked in Michelle. I only saw Gravenhurst on the list today. Good to know you're okay, and thanks for sharing those scary but fascinating stories. I know what you mean about the beautiful pines. It happened to a stretch of York Regional Forest a few years ago and they got turned to match sticks. All things change; I'm sure you'll miss those trees.

Living In Aurora Blogger said...

Very beautiful painting. I did too see ball lightning, it was amazing, but for such a short time. Anna.


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