Coffee heat rising

Stormy Weather!

Wow, what a storm! Well, make that what a pair of storms! Right now the Interstate is closed in both directions, trees are down, a house is burning, water is up to our knees.

It started yesterday afternoon with quite a heavy, sharp rain. These squalls move across the desert quickly, and so within a few minutes the rain stopped and this brilliant rainbow, one of the brightest I’ve ever seen, stretched across the northeastern sky.


Thing looks like it’s coming down right in the neighbor’s yard, doesn’t it? LOL! Before this appeared, though, quite a lot of lightning, thunder, and pounding rainfall terrorized Cassie the Corgi. Moi, I was cool until a bolt of lightning crackled down right outside the back door…HOLY mackerel! We were both diving under the bed.

I thought it had hit one of the palm trees, but if it did, I can’t see any damage. Last night the skies cleared, leaving a beautiful evening for a late doggy walk. And this morning dawned clear with a few fluffy little clouds. A few…that, well.. coalesced.

About noon the skies darkened and then let loose with one of the wildest hailstorms I’ve ever seen. Vast quantities of ice fell from the clouds. By the time it stopped, the place looked like it had snowed. Here’s a view out the side door.


That green stuff is not grass. It’s leaves. The hail stripped about half the foliage off every tree in the neighborhood! Inez and Carlos’s huge tree has blanketed the street and their neighbors’ yards with leaves, and my yard is covered with an even, thick layer of shredded leaves from their and my trees—front and back.


Everything was coated with ice. Naturally, first thing after dawn this morning I’d finished putting in the last of my vegetable garden. La Bethulia’s cucumber plant was reduced to a nubbin, and the two bell peppers she gave me were shredded. They might survive, but if they do it’ll be a surprise. The millimeter-high bok choy seedlings were thoroughly thrashed, as were the tiny chard sprouts that were just starting to peek out of the dirt.

A fair amount of water fell out of the sky, too. This puddle outside the back door is almost over the threshold, which is three inches higher than the patio floor, which itself is well above grade. Another quarter-inch of rain, and I would’ve had water in the house.


This storm was so extreme and so fierce, I thought it was going to break the skylights. In fact, in other parts of the city the hail did bust in car windshields, and as I write this, NPR just reported that 75-mile-an-hour winds were recorded. As the black thunderheads rolled in from the south, we could hear the same roaring sound that came out of the storm that smashed the Encanto district a couple of years ago: like a freight train barreling past. Only this was a great deal more violent than that storm, it least in our little corner of the Valley. I grabbed the dog and barricaded us into the middle bathroom, which has no exterior windows (except…ahem…a skylight…) and provides a sturdy cage of copper plumbing.

About the time the hail stopped, I had to get in my car and drive up to the campus for a meeting. What fun, driving in this stuff! Went up on the surface streets to avoid the likely chaos on the freeways. While I was going about 40 mph through thick traffic and heavy rain, some asshole thought it was hilarious to streak past me on the right so he could dive through a deep puddle at about 45 mph, fire-hosing my windshield and utterly blinding me.

This is the reason I don’t carry a gun in my car. Honestly. If I’d had a pistol, I’d have shot the sunovabitch. I certainly would have tried to shoot out his tires as I passed him while he stood in the left-turn lane (yes: after entertaining himself, he swerved across three lanes of traffic to park himself in the left-turn lane), and wouldn’t have regretted it much if a stray bullet had wandered into the driver’s compartment. No. You’re right. I have no restraint.

Where was I?

Yesh. Soon enough, the meeting adjourned and I headed back to the Funny Farm. By now more storm clouds were rumbling in. Threw some food on the stove before the power could go out, and just about the time the dog and I finished scarfing dinner, another violent hailstorm hit. We had hail at least an inch in diameter, some of it bigger. It sounded like rocks hitting the roof!

This struck right at 5:00 p.m.: perfect timing!

Power lines fell across the freeway, closing the Interstate 17 in both directions at mid-town. Underpasses flooded, and people stuck on the interstate found themselves in water up to their doors. The airport was shut down twice. Power poles went down, some of them through the roofs of utility customers’ homes.

Now it’s quiet. Quiet and finally, mercifully, gloriously cool. It’s down to 70 degrees on the back porch, the coolest temperature we’ve seen in three months.

And so, to walk the dog, and then to bed…

16 thoughts on “Stormy Weather!”

  1. Glad that everybody was OK! Sounds like a storm that rolled through here a couple of months ago. It missed us by a mile but the center of it hit areas around my parents house, took down trees all over the place, fences went down like matchsticks, and my dad reported that after the storm went down and he went down to the street, there was about a foot and a half of water down there.

  2. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for the area along the I-17 between Prescott and Flagstaff. Everything between the North Rim and Ajo is under a severe thunderstorm watch, and Wunderground is predicting more hail today. Guess before I leave for campus I’d better cover up what remains of the plants again.

    Welp…I guess global warming is gunna be good for business, if in fact we’re looking at the predicted effects (something this weather happens to fit). Nobody around here has tornado shelters. Instead of building houses for people who no longer live here or who can’t afford groceries much less mortgage payments, the developers can retrofit existing houses with storm cellars!

  3. “This is the reason I don’t carry a gun in my car.”

    Funny, the best line I’ve read in weeks. And boy can all of us relate.

  4. WOW! This is exactly the type of storm that would terrify me since it leaves you in suspense from wondering how bad it will get. So glad to hear you were okay, but can’t help but wonder why your meeting wasn’t postponed until the roads were clear of high water?

  5. What great pictures! I love storms, but I don’t like the ones that put people in danger.

    Glad everyone was safe and sound. You could make a nice collage of those photos and hang it up! The rainbow is beautiful.

  6. You are the first person I thought of when I saw that tornados had touched down in Arizona. Glad your ok. I’m addicted to your posts and sure would miss them.

  7. really have a talent with the camera. I enjoyed the pictures even more than the story. I’ve got to pull out my camera more and practice.

    I also laughed at the gun comment. Funny stuff.

  8. @ Holly: Storms around here occur as “microbursts” and “scattered showers,” which means it can be flooding in one part of town while the sun shines in another. I’m sure people on the campus were unaware that quite such drama was going on south of the North Mountains.

    @ Everyday Tips and Mischelle: Amazingly, two tornadoes (some reports said four) hit Flagstaff yesterday. I’ve never heard of a tornado north of the Mogollon Rim! Storms, when we get them, have steadily been getting more violent and more destructive over the years. But of course, as our esteemed governor and her fellow nitwit legislators will tell you, there’s no such thing as global warming. 😉

    @ valleycat1: The rainbow’s meaning? I dunno…maybe God trying to tell us that She wasn’t finished fooling with the weather?

    @ E. Murphy and Sandy: mwa ha hah! So you thought I was joking?

    …Seriously, this is the Wild West. Our ever-brilliant legislators recently passed a law saying we no longer need a permit to carry a concealed weapon (the permitting process required gun safety training and advice on how not to get a cop to blow you away when you’re stopped for a speeding ticket) AND passed another law to the effect that you can carry your gun into restaurants and bars. They tried to make it legal for faculty and students to carry guns on to college campuses, but that one hasn’t flown, though SB 2543, recently passed into law, bans cities and counties from prohibiting firearms in public parks.

    I’ve been urged more than once to carry a pistol in my car. Several of my friends do, some routinely and some only when they take long road trips. Some years ago I was startled to learn that one of my bosses had a gun in his car all the time. It is literally true that the reason I don’t carry my gun in my car is that the potential for violence on the roads is extremely high, and some of that potential emanates from my direction. When some fool puts my life at risk with his car — especially when, as the joker in the puddle did, they do it on purpose — I’m more than capable of flying into a homicidal fury. And, given the number of road rage incidents that happen around here, I’d guess I’m not alone in that.

  9. um… search the internet for ‘double rainbow guy’. or, I’m guessing your son could explain it. It’s a new meme.

  10. @ valleycat1: How funny! No, I’m afraid I haven’t seen that before. Don’t read the Huffington Post often enough, I guess! 😀

    Odd, how boring the guy gets after a few seconds…does anything actually happen in this video? I couldn’t get through to the end of it, but maybe only because my eyes are already glazed over at 3:45 in the morning. LOL!

  11. Loved the comment about the gun in the car. That’s why I don’t think people should privately own guns at all. Hot heads will prevail!

    That storm must have intensified after leaving Southern California. Glad you were safe.

  12. @ Kay Lynn: Yep. My father taught me that you don’t own a gun unless you intend to use it. And although my parents bought me toy Roy Rider six-shooters, my father kept an eye on the kiddies and would not allow me to point even a toy gun and another person or an animal.

    The problem is, most people don’t understand what “intend to use it” means. Often we don’t think through our own capabilities (or lack of capability), we haven’t practiced with the firearm enough to know how to use it and under what circumstances, and we don’t know what we will do when highly stressed. Really: who, other than the occasional sociopath, actually thinks through what it means to wound or kill another human being? I’ll bet not very many of us do. We may think we have, but thinking about it is a whole lot different from doing it.

    While I personally think the U.S. Constitution guarantees people the right to bear arms, it doesn’t guarantee us the right to bear arms foolishly. Nothing in the Constitution forbids requiring gun safety training (and I don’t mean some rangemaster telling you not to point it at your spouse or your foot) and regular, repeated demonstrations by each gun owner that she or he is practiced in the use of the weapon(s), understands the laws regarding self-defense, and testifies under penalty of perjury that the weapon is being kept in a safe and secure place.

    Nor is there anything in the law of the land that prevents governments from requiring that guns be stored securely — if someone comes into your house and steals your pistol out of your nightstand drawer, you should have to pay a fine, since your carelessness put many other citizens at risk and will likely cost the taxpayers a pretty penny in police and EMT services.

    You can’t drive a car (also a dangerous weapon) without showing you know how to use it. Why should you be allowed to wave a gun around without showing you know how to use it?

  13. OK, now I’m busted – I haven’t actually watched the video, just read about it & some of the take-offs it spawned. But any rainbow picture for me from now on will make me think “OMG, what does it mean?” As the saying goes, everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame (in the age of you-tube, make that 15 seconds).

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