The Storm of the Decade (according to locals who have been here longer than I) 7/20/14

22 Jul

July 19 was a pretty day with a few raindrops and thunder off in the distance. But no big deal. The sunset that night was gorgeous. I know that you must be getting tired of sunsets and clouds, but they are SOOOO pretty here.

Looking west toward the Sierras  (Don't forget to click on the photo to enlarge it)

A pretty sunset on July 19

The clouds above the mountains were sort of wispy with undefined edges. I didn’t see it, but Jerri told me there was quite a light show over the Sierras/Tahoe area that night, thus foreshadowing what was to come the next day.

About 1:30 PM on the 20th, I could hear rumblings out to the east and soon saw rain over the area that Jerri and I had ridden our quad just a week ago.  There was a lot of lightning accompanying the rain and I hoped that no fires would start because of it. I counted about 30 seconds before I heard the boom and wasn’t particularly concerned. Then I realized the time between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunderclaps was getting shorter and that I ought to move inside. I had just read a while ago that one should not be outside if the interval is 30 seconds or less. Pretty soon, the rain intensified and it was pouring. More than an inch fell in less than an hour. Pretty good for a desert…and consequently, an excellent chance for flash flood(s). Yep, they happened not far from my house.

My sunken firepit is getting flooding and also telling me that drainage is not good from my patio area

My sunken fire pit is getting flooding and also telling me that drainage is not good from my patio area

This picture is the beginning of the deluge and looks out on my sunken fire pit. The stick you see is for baby quail to climb out if they happen to fall into the pit as they did last year. Other wood was also in there for when we have our first marshmallow roast in the back yard.  You can see water beginning to flood the area and there are puddles in the Back 40 beyond the near bushes. The next picture is how the pit looked just about a half hour later.  You folks who get regular storms are not amazed at this but it is a great topic of conversation for us.

The wood is floating and it's now at flood stage in the pit

The wood is floating and it’s now at flood stage in the pit.  Today, there is about an inch of mud/silt in that pit along with the wood.

The lightning was quite a show and as the storm passed over me, the claps were very loud and close. I counted no duration between many of the strikes and the claps. A bit scary but there is not much one can do. Everyone has stories to tell since this was an epic storm. My good buddy, Diana, told me about a lady (who she knows) who was sitting in the bathroom when a bolt struck that very room creating a hole in the roof.   I’ll bet she didn’t stay in there very long.

Looking east from the mailboxes and the next picture is looking west toward the Sierras.

Looking east from the mailboxes and the next picture is looking west toward the Sierras.

Looking west at some erosion and the same mud laden ditch

Looking west at some erosion and the same mud laden ditch

This is the type of storm that causes flash floods and quite a bit of damage. For example, a large 15’ wide and probably 10’ deep ditch runs under the main street into my tract (and under a large stand of mail boxes) and people have not seen any water in it for 20 years. Yesterday, it was full of raging water and overflowed by the mailboxes, making a mess of the street and leaving debris all over the area.  Today, that ditch is about half full of mud and junk.  There are many of these collector ditches stemming from the Pine Nuts in the east going west toward the Sierras. This ditch happens to peter out about a mile or so west of me. The flow was powerful enough and there was enough water that it might have had enough force to join the Carson River just a bit further west. Going back to the damage, there were pictures on the news tonight showing people with 6’ of sand and mud in their house. Jerri’s neighbor lost a few thousand dollars worth of stuff for his job when his garage flooded. Jerri’s house (across the street) is fine with zero damage. I guess it’s the luck of the draw.

This has been an interesting experience for me as this is probably the most severe thunderstorm that I’ve seen. I would say it was a spectacular show and I surely do wish I had been able to get pictures of some of the strikes. The best thing about the storm was how the air smelled afterward. It was so clean, pure and fresh! That smell remained until this morning when I was coming home from the gym. It was exhilarating! Actually, the air still smells good. I’m loving it!

Today has been a wonderful, splendid day and I just want to share a couple more pictures.  The first is some of those sunflowers I’ve been talking about.. They survived the storm in fine fettle and are looking great. There are no blossoms yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing some soon. You can see some clouds in the background. We were supposed to have a bit more precipitation today but I only felt a few drops.

Cheerful sunflowers with peppers, tomatoes and lettuce in the background

Cheerful sunflowers with peppers, tomatoes and lettuce in the background

 

Wispy clouds on a pretty day

Wispy clouds following the storm

Well, the weather is supposed to turn hot once again but it has been nice to experience this change and see wild weather.  Jerri and I are very much like our dad.  We really enjoy WEATHER and what it brings us daily.

 

One Response to “The Storm of the Decade (according to locals who have been here longer than I) 7/20/14”

  1. B. H. Hoffmaster July 23, 2014 at 2:31 am #

    I remember when we lived on South Birch, in Santa Ana, Keith, Lee, and Albert had a room up some stairs with windows all around. When we would have some thunderstorms they would go up to their bedroom and watch the storm out the windows. I still like to watch Thunderstorms.
    Uncle Bev

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