Dark as Night

LeAnn posted this blog on Saturday, July 17th, 2010 at 1:26 pm

It was a wild day here around at Rural Route 2 on Wednesday. The morning started out well enough with sunshine It was terribly humid, though, and sticky and warm and uncomfortable.

As the morning progressed, storm clouds started to gather. At around 11 a.m., while I was at the newspaper office, a severe thunderstorm warning came over the scanner to all law enforcement and emergency personnel in the county. The village’s warning siren also began to blow. I might have figured as much. The sky had turned darker and thunder muttered and grumbled overhead. It was hotter and even more humid than it had been first thing in the morning.

I decided I ought to figure out a “plan” if we got hit with really bad weather. The only interior room in the place — an old tractor repair shop converted into a newspaper office — is the bathroom at the center of the building. I called Randy to tell him the sirens were going off in town, and he suggested I find a flashlight, just in case the electricity went out and I needed to find my way back to my “storm shelter.”

Unfortunately, there were no flashlights to be found. I was alone at the office and decided to call the man who used to own the newspaper and still does print jobs (he’s 74). He said there was no flashlight in the building but that there was a book of matches somewhere in the back.

I didn’t even try to look for the matches.

As the weather grew more threatening, the street lights started to come on. It was so dark outside that at 11 a.m. it seemed more like 9:30 or 10 p.m.

Eventually the storm hit, and it rained like crazy for about 30 minutes. At one point, I looked out through the window of the shop door, and the rain running down the gutter was up to the wheel rims on my truck.

Although damaging wind and hail had been predicted, we did not get any of that. When the storm was over, I felt quite relieved.

Things went along fine until about 3 p.m. The clouds never cleared off, and on into the afternoon, grew thicker again. Then a tornado warning for the entire county came over the scanner and the siren started to blow again. I usually leave the office at around 3 p.m. The owner of the newspaper is trying to cut expenses to help the newspaper stay in business, and office hours are one thing that has been cut.

Since another storm was coming in, I decided to head home. If the house was going to blow away, I would have to blow away with it.

By the time I got home, it was raining in buckets. Luckily I had tucked a rain coat behind the seat of my truck. I left my computer and camera in the truck and hot-footed it for the door.

When I got in the house, two of my young cats, Henry and Dora, were beside themselves. They are afraid of storms. It’s all our fault, too, because they were little kittens several years ago when we had that bad storm with hail stones the size of three or four golf balls glued together. Randy and I were trying to get the kitties downstairs and Pixie downstairs. and it must have all been too much for Henry and Dora. Katerina is not bothered my storms, so I am surmising she was already downstairs and was not part of the hoop-la.

I found Henry curled up in a miserable ball in the bathroom, huddled against the bathtub, and Dora was running around the house, crying-crying-crying. I put a blanket in the bathroom for Henry to burrow under if he wanted to, then I tried to console Dora and opened the closet door for her if she wanted to hide in there. Nope. She did not. And there was no consoling her. She was terrified and that was that. I picked her up at one point, but then she was just screaming in my ear.

So, I did the only thing possible. I started to play the piano. Much to my surprise, Dora calmed down right away. Either the sound of the piano covered some of the thunder and pounding rain, or else Dora decided if I was unconcerned enough about the storm to play the piano, then maybe it was not QUITE as bad as she had thought.

Again, with this storm, it grew so dark that our dusk-to-dawn light came on. There was a little wind but none of the damaging winds and hail that had been predicted. Thunder muttered and grumbled for a long time. But an hour after that, the sky had cleared off and then it was sunny again.

Wednesday evening I had to go to a meeting, and sure enough, on the way home, there was another severe thunderstorm warning. I just made it home in time to stay out of the torrential rain that started to fall. Once again we did not get any wind or hail as was predicted, but Randy saw a rotating wall cloud that he called in to the National Weather Service (he is a trained weather spotter).

By the time it was finished, we had gotten 1.9 inches of rain all together. Thursday the air was a little cooler and not quite as humid, but by Friday, the temperature was up in the 90s again, and the humidity had returned.

This is far different summer weather than we have had for the past seven or eight years. . .

LeAnn R. Ralph

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