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