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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Crazy Storm

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Crazy Storm

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mother nature bats last
Bobby and I eat outside on our patio during nice weather, and we had just settled in. About an hour earlier, the weather radio went off with a thunderstorm watch for all of Carroll County through 11 PM, but a thunderstorm watch is really nothing to get excited over at this time of year. It was 90F/32C in Manchester when we came home from work and high humidity, so thunderstorms are to be expected. The light had that underwater quality that it gets before a storm, but the sky overhead was blue with some high, streaky clouds; because of the trees, we couldn't see to the south or west of us.

We had just started eating when a hard gust of wind blew through, and we looked up, and a dark fringe of cloud was pulling quickly across the sky from the west. Bobby suggested that we should probably head in (because we've been caught in sudden storms mid-supper before, and it is not fun), and by the time we packed up the tray and carried it inside--two minutes tops--the wind was blowing so hard that it tipped over a chair in the yard. I went out back to lower the patio umbrella, lost a shoe, started to put it back on, saw how fast the wind was blowing and decided the shoe could wait because I did not want to be outside longer than I had to be futzing with a damn shoe.

I haven't seen the trees thrash like that since Hurricane Sandy came through two years ago. (We only got the edges of it with tropical storm-force winds.) Apparently, the storm produced gusts here at 60 mph/96 kph (in Cumberland, out west from us, the same line of storms produced a 75 mph/120 kph gust, so we are actually lucky). It tore a branch out of our neighbors' big maple trees across the street that was itself the size of a small tree. Of course, it fell across our driveway. The same trees lost a smaller branch that fell into our front yard, and one of our maples lost a small branch as well. Bobby and I were cutting up the big branch to try to get it out of the road, since half of the road was blocked, and thankfully one of our neighbors came by and helped Bobby to drag it out of our driveway and into the yard far enough that it was no longer in the road.

It is still night-dark outside and softly thundering.

ETA ... and apparently the storms knocked down a tree at a summer camp in town, and it fell on a girl child. We heard sirens while we were clearing the branches out of the road. I don't know the details, but this just shows how WTF this storm was.

ETA2: She died. :...(

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Wow! That sounds like summer storms I remember as a kid growing up in the midwest Massive and seemingly out of nowhere and often gone just as fast. I kind of love those, although they can be incredibly destructive. The difference between the powerful midwest thunder storm and a hurricane for me is the sudden appearance and disappearance of the summer storm and the hours of relentless pounding one gets from a hurricane.
    • I like thunderstorms too. It certainly cooled down outside, and these regular storms we've been having have done a good enough job of watering the plants that we haven't had to hook up the drip irrigation yet. But we have too many trees for that violent of wind! Our poor trees are still stressed and traumatized from the ice storm this winter; I suspect every windy storm like this one will bring down more and more branches. Bobby started cutting up the branch while I was washing the dishes, and a woman who passed by stopped and told him that the major road that leads into Manchester was a mess from fallen branches.

      I dread no other form of weather like a hurricane/tropical storm. There is the lingering trauma of the Great Basement Flood of 2011 from Lee, and I had a nightmare before Irene about all of the trees in our yard being uprooted that I have not been able to shake in these three years. Arthur's early arrival, which would have hit us so much harder if not for the cold front that was timed perfectly to push it out to sea, has me very nervous ...
  • What Oshun said. Your description is reminiscent of the Midwestern storms that rise up over the prairie. These are always exciting! They don't often produce substantial rain, however.

    Your storm sounds like a microburst with strong straight-line winds. The storms that popped up over Massachusetts yesterday evening generated some of these and did some damage, mostly downed trees.
    • The rain was pretty steady but wasn't extreme. I think we got a good enough amount to give the gardens a good watering. And it dropped the temperature about 20 degrees, which was very welcome!

      Apparently, NOAA has issued a warning for the Bay that all boats under 24 feet go into port immediately because the storm was headed east with high winds. We get summer thunderstorms very frequently because of the heat and humidity, but the violence of the winds tonight was not normal for us.

      ETA ... it looks like it might be classified as a derecho storm. Eight children were injured and a little girl was killed when a tree fell on them at a summer camp in town tonight; they were trying to move indoors but the storm came up so sudden that they couldn't get inside in time. We heard the sirens while we were cleaning up the road.

      Definitely ranks as one of the craziest weather experiences I've had.

      Edited at 2014-07-09 02:37 am (UTC)
  • Straight line winds can be horribly damaging. I hope the girl at the camp survived and wasn't hurt too badly.

    It's frightening to watch air have such power, but I must admit that I love thunderstorms. I'm relieved that all you had to deal with were fallen branches and cleanup.

    - Erulisse (one L)
    • I'm sorry to say that the Carroll County Times is now reporting that she was killed and eight other children were injured, without details yet as to their condition. They were being moved indoors, but the storm was so sudden and the winds so severe that they didn't have time to get inside before the tree came down.

      I'll attest that I was pretty frightened to be outside lowering the umbrella, and I am a brave person generally. I am glad to have had only the branches in the driveway/road to deal with. My heart is breaking for the little girl and her family.
  • You said, 'futzed!' I haven't heard anyone use that word since my dear dad passed!

    Oh, that poor little girl :(
    • I say futz all the time. It's a more appropriate substitute for other f-words I like to say ... First time I used it in writing, though. :)

      I am so heartbroken for the little girl and her family. I can't imagine any worse nightmare for a parent or for the adults supervising the kids at the camp; they were moving them indoors when it happened. The storm was so sudden: blue skies and then, two minutes later, tropical storm-force wind gusts. It was scary.
  • Weather like that is SCARY! (((hugs))) I am very glad to hear you are safe, and sorry to hear about the little girl.

    This has been a horrible year for extreme weather!
    • I'm very worried about this year's hurricane season. I'm hoping I'm just jumpy because Arthur came so early (and, but for the cold front that was perfectly timed to push him out to sea, would have hit us much harder), but I have a bad feeling.

      Bobby and I have both noticed the weather has been more extreme lately. We both grew up in central Maryland, so we have a good sense of what's normal. It seems like we don't get rain anymore, we get RAIN. And we don't get wind, we get WIND. We won't even discuss the snow and ice ...

      We get a sampling of extreme weather here in Maryland, but it is not normal for us to get multiple hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, and other severe weather in the space of a few years. When I was a kid, tropical weather like we've had three of in the past three years (Irene, Lee, and Sandy) was a once-every-several-years thing. Heavy snows happened every several years. Tornadoes happened but rarely touched down or caused damage. Whereas, not too long ago, Manchester had four tornado warnings in one night and I had a student whose home was destroyed in a tornado here in Manchester ...

      If this is classified as a derecho storm, that will be the second of those in as many years for central Maryland. The last one hit Baltimore, and some of my students were without power for weeks.

      I am so, so sad for the little girl, her family, and the others at the camp. I am just hoping that the other children involved are okay. How dramatically life can change in just a few minutes ...

      Sorry, I realize I am being very dramatic right now! *hugs back* I am not a sentimental person but accidents involving kids like what happened tonight always get me. :(
  • Is there something about the date? We had a storm pop up too as I was driving home from work, same kind of thing: blue skies, hot and humid, but nothing really forecast. Then suddenly my windshield wipers can't go fast enough, and when I get home one of the trees outside my building is split in half and the power had gone off. o.O Luckily not as bad as your storm, from the sound of it.

    I do love thunderstorms though, so long as there is no hail (as my car lives outside). We had one four days in a row week before last, and it was wonderful.
    • It has been nice for cooling things down. We apparently had more go through while we were at work today. The damage wasn't bad in Manchester from the look of things, but there were trees and branches down in western Baltimore County. And the temperature dropped to 70F.

      No watches or warnings yet for tonight, so hopefully that's it.
  • Poor kid and her family, such pain to go through now :(

    I looked up what a derecho storm is and our country is too small to meat the 400km criteria, but we have those massive level 3 thunderstorms hitting our country with such winds, funnels, thunderstorms ect. Germany and Belgium are also usually covered by those complex storms.
    • We're in the region that's supposed to get one derecho every four years, and we've now had two in as many years (assuming this is classified as such). :^/ Bobby said it can take several days to crunch the data and determine if it was a derecho, but it had definitely assumed the characteristic bow shape.

      A level 3 thunderstorm doesn't sound like something to mess around with either ...
      • No it isn't, it has killed folks here (falling trees on them/cars ect). We even had a waterspout/water tornado alert a few days ago in the North, so yes, the weather is becoming more extreme...
  • Unless I'm misreading, the article says it was a boy who died, so perhaps she's injured but alive. Still, it's sad. :( I'm glad you both got through the summer storm with possessions etc. relatively intact!
    • I was updating this last night as news came in; the article I linked, which is now long, was about two paragraphs at the time! Clearly they got some facts mixed up in those first hours because they are now reporting it was a boy, not a girl, who was killed. Regardless, a child was killed by a falling tree in my town, which is heartbreaking.
  • Oh, wow! That reminds me a lot of the storms we get here. I wouldn't call those windspeeds anything out of the ordinary. But how fast it blew up is.

    I'm sorry to hear about the kid. :(
    • We definitely get severe thunderstorms with winds at that speed, but they tend to be isolated and short-lived. This line of storms seemed to sweep across the entire northern half of the state. Cumberland is in far western Maryland, and I know the same storm generated small craft warnings out on the Bay. Everyone I talked to at work today had pretty much the identical experience to mine, and everyone remarked on how fast it came up. Those two things are what made it so weird. Usually when we get a severe storm like that, 15 minutes away will get nothing.
  • Wow... so sad for the family of the child who died!

    We were supposed to get bad storms here in Pittsburgh, but after a morning and early afternoon of ominous clouds and wind, we got about 15 minutes of light rain and then it cleared up. I was somewhat disappointed, not least because it's been really hot and dry, and will be dry for the next few days at least. (And now I feel terrible for being disappointed, given others' experience with this weather front.)
    • Well, the advantage to thunderstorms is that they do cool things off! :) We had more storms this afternoon--nothing like last night--with the advantage that it is now 70F outside instead of the upper 80s/low 90s. And we haven't had to water the garden yet this summer either; we haven't even hooked up the drip irrigation yet.

      So no feeling terrible please. :) The accident at the camp last night, however heartbreaking, seems to me to be the definition of a freak accident caused by something that wasn't a normal thunderstorm.
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