Batten down the hatches

One of the (many) things that fascinates me— a California girl living elsewhere— is the summer rain, and by extension, thunderstorms.

The past two nights have been quite the adventure for me.

We’ve had some overcast days, even with temps in the low 80s. Eventually, the sky gets ominously dark and the rumble of thunder in the distance is the warning to head indoors. But nothing (so far) has been quite like last night. The previous evening, we had lightning that was almost constant, but not much thunder.

But last night?

That was something.

Around 9:30 or so, the rains began, followed shortly by a light show. We were seemingly surrounding by lightning and it went on for at least a few hours this way.

The video doesn’t even do the lightning justice, of course, but imagine those flashes going on for hours on end.

Around 11pm, I got out of bed (again) to watch the storm from the bedroom window. The rains were torrential, the lightning was almost constantly illuminating the night sky as if it were afternoon, and the winds…the winds began with a vengeance. As I was watching, amazed by such a storm, we noticed the large tree outside our window really begin to sway…then bend…significantly. I put my hand to the window and could feel the winds pushing against the glass and Dave said he’d feel a lot better if I stepped away from the window (at which point, I wasn’t feeling so keen on going out on the balcony to snap photos and video).

We both agreed that it might be time to close up the house…as in put the storm shutters (I guess that’s what you’d call them?) down on all the windows. They are essentially vertical rolling shutters that do a great job of darkening a room, but apparently, they can also protect windows in severe storms. We scurried through the house and “battened down all the hatches” (rolled them all down completely), with the exception of our room, where we left them open a sliver, so as to watch for lightning.

By this time, the thunder had arrived, with low rumbles building into loud roars that made the windows rattle. By 1am, everything was quiet again, with the exception of the flashes of lightning from time to time (this lightning was seriously never-ending). I hadn’t ever seen anything like it! The trees, blowing against a backdrop of golden street lights and flashes of lightning, looked like highlights from The Weather Channel’s newsreel.

In California, I don’t ever recall getting a summer storm…at least not like these. These storms come on hot days where I’m wearing shorts. If it’s raining in California, chances are that it’s chilly rain. And thunder and lightning? Well, that’s just not something this California girl is used to experiencing. When we were visiting Dave’s parents in Long Island last summer, the skies opened up and I learned to the true meaning of “gully-washer.” I was in awe of how quickly the water came down. To Dave and his parents, it was nothing out of the ordinary, and I think it amused them that I said I should go photograph/document such a sight. I’ve even seen similar storms living in New Orleans, of course— a steamy August afternoon, broken open by a midday rain— it was a welcome respite from the hot, sticky air. New Orleans and Long Island storms were not the norm for me, so they intrigued me and I was happy to watch out a window. Last night was the type of storm where you don’t want to fall asleep because you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen next (and not in a cool way). Dave loves a good summer storm, though even last night might have been a bit much.

The storm passed at some point in the middle of the night (I had long fallen asleep with no thunder to wake me) but I don’t know that this kind of summer weather will ever seem normal to this California girl.

3 comments on “Batten down the hatches

  1. Oh gosh that must have been really frightening if you’re not used to it. I get freaked out by summer storms still and I’m used to them! Last night I was out at a concert in Verona – an outdoors concert! Somehow we managed to keep dry with the lightning providing a great backdrop to the light effects on stage and then the heavens opened as soon as we jumped in the car. So lucky! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua : Life in Italy

  2. I remember being in Chattanooga visiting Poppy’s family in the summer months and the rain, thunder & lightning were amazing to me as well. I wasn’t crazy about the lightning, especially after knowing it hit a tree and split it down the middle right on his property! I thought sure we’d all be struck!

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