I climbed into bed around 10:30 last night after watching the news. I was most interested in the weather, of course, given the chances I’d heard earlier in the day for storms overnight. Such was confirmed, so I happily climbed between the sheets and settled in with The Kids for a restful night’s sleep. You see, like many people I sleep quite well when it’s raining, and storms are even better in that regard. Estimates were that a large storm complex would reach us between 1 and 3 in the morning, however, so I was not anticipating being awake at the time to enjoy them. Despite this, I was happy to know it was to rain at all and that today would also carry with it a significant chance of storms. What I did not realize as I dozed and eventually found sleep was that the end of the world was upon us.
I can not be certain of the time because power had already failed, but early this morning the storms rolled through with a vengeance. Curled between the sheets with all four cats taking their respective places around or on me, all five of us were thrown out of bed by what can only be described as a hellacious torrent outside. The most abrupt mechanism of awakening was the explosion of thunder that sounded as though a bomb had gone off just outside my windows. It literally shook the bed and rattled the windows so that I thought they might shatter in their panes. My eyes flew open in less time than it takes to blink, and in that instant I saw all four of The Kids take flight: first vertically, then horizontally out of the bedroom as soon as their paws reached the ground. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, a biblical event.
I sat upright in bed listening to the near constant roar of thunder outside, my eyes assaulted by flashes of lightning that seemed never-ending, and a downpour of rain that threatened to send floods of water through both sets of patio doors — enough water to make Noah envious, I’m sure. It was phenomenal. I climbed out of bed and went to the living room where all of the fur people had gathered, now each of them sitting and looking somewhat confused about what the hell had just happened. They are not generally frightened by storms, but none of them had ever experienced thunder so near and abrupt and brutal as what had just occurred. I knelt in the middle of the room and spoke to each of them, petting and reassuring them that all was well and that there was no danger. The storm continued raging outside for another hour at least, although lacking electricity and the common sense to look at my cell phone meant I really had no clear indication of how much time elapsed.
Eventually, the storm began to calm, and only then did I step outside to the patio to discover a convenient array of marble-sized hail scattered about haphazardly, and underlying this icy surface was a tremendous amount of debris from the tree and bushes. Even now these many hours later I still see the patio and think of it more as a battlefield littered with Mother Nature’s vengeance. Leaves, branches, and what I assume to be every flower and seed from the tree lie in random display. The demarcation line from the standing water is clearly defined with said detritus and shows the onslaught brought the flood to within 2 feet (slightly more than half a meter) of the bedroom’s patio doors. This is normal, though, as the patio slopes downward from the doors and water sometimes backs up to within a short distance if it rains hard enough, but there is only the most remote chance that it would ever be able to reach inside given that it would then have to be standing higher than the hill upon which I live. Still, it is entertaining to have such a clear indication of how much rain we received.
On my way back in, I became aware of how hard the rain had fallen when I noticed the dampness of the exterior walls, doors, and windows. Splashing water appears to have doused the lower 12 inches (30 centimeters) of those surfaces. This may seem a boring tidbit, but you must understand those areas are a minimum of 6 feet (1.8 meters) inside the patio roof, so the rain had to blow in near horizontally in order to reach that far beneath the cover. I smiled knowingly to myself. Because the temperature had been so comfortable last night, I originally decided to leave the windows open so that I might enjoy the coolness of the spring evening. Only after I turned off all of the lights and stood next to the bed did it occur to me that severe storms could cause a problem if I left them open, so closing them was a last-minute decision that was almost not made. I assure you it was nothing but luck that I did not awake this morning to a drenched bedroom and living room and their various contents located near the windows.
I don’t know precisely when the power came back on but know that it was back when I rose this morning around 6 to start my day. And now I sit enjoying the possibility of more torrential rains and severe thunderstorms throughout the day and into the overnight hours.
[UPDATE 4/20/06 @ 1:21 PM CDT]: I just wanted to share a tidbit from Jenny on this storm as she lives only about 5 minutes away from me. From her e-mail: “…we had as you know, some very sharp lightning early this morning. Couple of times I thought the house might be hit.” That’s exactly how powerful this storm was, with lightning filling the air so that electricity was near palpable and thunder rolling and exploding constantly so that it was felt to the very core of me. Impressive; exciting; wonderful; powerful; I could go on. It was very cool.