The Impossible Winter in August

Today was an interesting weather day in Eastern Massachusetts.

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This summer has been a rather average one in temperature and precipitation which masks some very violent weather events. The tornado in Revere, Massachusetts just to the North of Boston by mere miles, destroyed 65 buildings and was a rain wrapped tornado last week. Somehow nobody was killed.

Rain wrapped means essentially that nobody could see it as it looked like a wall of rain with an ever so slight swirl. Yet not a swirl for one to jump to the conclusion of the reality coming towards you. Think of that for a moment. Many of us are used to images of those “classic” Kansas Twisters which are usually dry storms and you can see the dark swirling nightmarish fear coming straight for you. Not in this case. The terror is might as well be a stalker of the night.

Rain wrapped tornadoes are just about the only kind we ever see in New England and we don’t see many of those. Massachusetts averages only 2 tornadoes a year. Which on a side note makes July 2014 quite interesting in this regard: Massachusetts had two tornadoes…Kansas….zero. Yes. Count how many years that happens.

I was fortunate/unfortunate enough to experience a tornado on July 10, 1989 in the town I grew up in. The warning we had was a Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued by the National Weather Service (in no way  discrediting them to their excellence) and ominous clouds to the west. Around 4 o’clock the streetlights came on. The sky was a quiet eerie purple. Suddenly a wall of water and wind bashed the town in a instant of absolute chaos. As soon as it had come it had ceased. Left behind ripped off roofs, numerous felled trees, a powerless night, and shock. Luckily, nobody was killed. It was an experience I shall never forget.

As promised, I did digress. Let me bring you back to the point stated at the beginning of this summery blog. Today was an interesting weather day in Eastern Massachusetts. Why?

Due to a large cold pool of air in the atmosphere high over New England, combined with the heating of an early August sun, thunderstorms were very likely. This is a classic setup for hail as air forced upwards condenses in the cold, gains mass, and falls to earth as hail. The higher up the air is forced, the larger the stones.

On the west side of the town where I was at the time when the storm commenced, it rained as hard as I had seen it rain all year. Towers of dark clouds screaming warning to any who turned their eyes northwest unleashed a torrent of rain. And Hail. Lots of Hail. But not where I was. Just to my east.

Only 1 mile east of me the heavy rain was accompanied with nickel sized hail. I discovered this only after the storm. At first I noticed leaves scattered about covering the roads and sidewalks. Then the hail. It covered the ground as snow. It had looked like some random dream I could have manufactured. Walking in a summery, forested town while trudging through an impossible winter. It was nearly that.

Arriving home I discovered the tragedy. On the back deck, covered in leaves and with hail STILL on the ground from 3 hours prior, were the tattered remains of flowers in pots put out only yesterday. A beautiful Azalea looked as if it had been cut by shears. An African Violet actually knocked off and broken completely. I was late this year in putting out flowers. I suppose I should have been one more day late?

The Geraniums are still coming this weekend and the weather will always be a blooming passion regardless of season.

Such is the weather. Such is the Universe.

Cheers,

Jason

 

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