American Elephants

Thunder and Lightening and Cloudbursts. by The Elephant's Child

We had a thunderstorm this morning. (Yes, I know, big deal and all that) When we first moved to the Seattle area, we had a “thunderstorm”. There was one loud clap of thunder — and that was it. And over the years, that was the pattern. Once in a while there might have been two or three thunderclaps in a “storm.” I found this completely bizarre.

I grew up in the foothills of the Rockies, and you could hear a storm approaching for hours. Distant thunder. I loved lying on the grass and  watching the sky, seeing the flash of distant lightening. The storm would gradually come closer and closer, and the thunderheads would grow darker, and then a few huge drops of rain, and then a cloudburst, and you’d have to run for it. That was summer in the foothills of the Rockies.

We once had a lightning strike about 100 yards from the house. I never heard anything so loud in my life. Bark was stripped off the pine in a spiral, top to bottom, and it killed the tree of course. Thunderstorms in that country meant lightning strikes and forest fires. A haze on the hills meant a distant fire, the smell of smoke meant it was close. We had a smoke jumper base not far away.

So, to say I was unimpressed with Seattle thunderstorms is putting it mildly. I did once read that someone was struck by lightening on a local golf course. And we have plenty of mountains nearby.

This morning’s storm went on for well over half-an-hour, probably longer, as if the rain gods were making up for lost time. Very strange. Must be global warming.


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