Monday, 23 January 2012

Tropical thunderstorms and whacky weather...

Last night there was the most amazing storm!  Thunder, lightning and torrential rain.  We were all awakened and the poor dog quivered and shuddered between TLOML and me.

My darling lost more sleep from an already shortened night.  I did too, but I have such low expectations regarding sleep that if it wasn't the storm waking me it would be an aching shoulder or a stabbing pain in the hip.  This was much more exciting and more fun.  I actually like storms.  If I had my druthers I would probably have been outside on the verandah watching nature's fireworks, but the dogger was scared and the g/f really needed to get as much sleep as possible.

The weather is different in Australia than it was in the US.  There seem to be so many more drastic weather events in North America.

I lived in Minnesota and the whole idea of a place where you are sweltering in summer (temps over 100F sometimes and quite humid (probably from all those 10,000 lakes)) and then dealing with temps well into the negatives in winter is beyond imagination in Oz.  The freezing rain, snow, and the days when it is too damn cold to snow, make winter a real endurance sport in MN.  I strongly suspect that it is unfit for human habitation but that those Scanderhoovians are too damn stubborn to admit it.

Then my stint in Oklahoma was interesting.  In that wonderful English film "Shirley Valentine' Shirley talked to her wall, "hello wall"... in Oklahoma it is "hello wall cloud".  I know where Frank Baum got some of his inspiration for The Wizard of Oz.  There are few things more alarming than to see the sky turn green with banks of clouds that appear impenetrable!  If I had experienced the storm we saw last night while in Oklahoma there would have been tornadoes for sure!  It was a definite "super cell" and yet for some reason it is very rare for these huge storms here in Australia to create funnels.  Another thing about a storm like that in Oklahoma there would have definitely been downed trees and power lines and thousands of people without power etc etc.

Northern California is really beautiful and as I managed to avoid any earthquakes I have no complaints...  but... it is kind of interesting in some weather ways...  Mid summer The Boy and I were dying in the 104 degree heat in Willits when only 30 odd miles away, as the crow flies, at Fort Bragg where we went to have a swim, everyone was wearing jackets!  On top of that when we did try to go in for a swim the water was SO COLD that I, literally, lost all feeling in my lower legs.  Then on another day driving from Cloverdale on Hwy 101, where we were being broiled alive (sans butter and garlic), to San Francisco we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to find wisps of fog against the hills of SFO.  There is of course that wonderful quote, often erroneously attributed to Mark Twain, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  We certainly experiences the truth of the saying no matter who actually said it first!

Then I did some time in Houston, Texas.  Here the fixation on those incredibly destructive hurricanes that spin through the Gulf of Mexico and then tear up some unfortunate area of shoreline is really quite justified.  A trip through Galveston, about 45 minutes from Houston, still reveals the destruction of the 2008 hurricane "Ike" which at one point was over 600 miles in diameter and caused damage from the Florida Panhandle to Corpus Christie.

Now Australia isn't completely devoid of weather we do get cyclones (hurricanes by another name) and they have been known to damage this beautiful island on which I live.  TLOML's shade cloth over the pool is still sporting some substantial rips from the most recent cyclone.  There have been some very nasty cyclones in the past but most of them affect areas of quite low population.  Cyclone Tracy that decimated Darwin on Christmas Day in 1974 was especially significant as it did wreak havoc on a major city.

I have no idea why storms like last night don't drop twisters.  It might have something to do with the ocean.  Maybe if Australia had more population in the middle there might be more reports of tornado like phenomena.  We Aussies cling to the coast like born-again lemmings refusing to either jump or move inland.

It seems to me that when I was a child in Sydney you could pretty much set your watch by the "southerly buster" that would roll in to cool us all down around 3.00pm.  Sydney has been doing a fine impersonation of San Francisco this summer quite cold and damp.  It is really giving all those anti-global warming wowsers good ammunition for their argument.

It's just all different.  Nothing is the same as it was and no two places are alike.  The only constant is change.  Thank goodness I subscribe to the "Variety is the spice of life" philosophy!

8 comments:

  1. I love storms too! Been through tornados, hurricanes, and a typhoon. All equally awesome and powerful.

    Worst rainfall I ever was in was in Mexico. We could barely stand upright, it was coming down so darn hard. Crazy amount of rain in a short time. Much worse than being in a typhoon.

    Hope you keep enjoying your paradise, and that your poor pooch settles down after the storm.

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    1. I'm loving life here and the dog has relaxed (at least until the next thunder clap!) Sore all over which proves the point that wherever you go you are still there...thx mate

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  2. Mmm... nothing like a cracking summer storm! It's exhilarating watching the lightning.

    Interesting thought about twisters in central Australia. We have willy-willies but er, not quite the same thing!

    While you've been in the US the Southerly Buster has been on a bit of a holiday I think. You can't rely on it like you used to; it hasn't been uncommon in recent years to get several days in a row over 30 or even 35 without the wonderful Buster blowing cool air in.

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    1. Where oh where has our buster gone? I know things change all the time but you'd have thought you could count on the weather!

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  3. I have trouble understanding places that can be killer hot in summer, and maybe humidity too, yet receive snow in winter. The extremes you mention does make Australia's weather seem quite mild.

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    1. Andrew Oz is mild verging on boring compared to the US!

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  4. I thought the weather in Chicago was crazy...thanks for this interesting post!

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    1. I nearly mentioned Chicago with all that lake effect snow you get there! Much MUCH more fluffy white stuff than MN. I do love Chicago!

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