Friday, April 28, 2006


Some spooky clouds today. Not quite as spooky as this, though I saw some of those two summers ago (we came out of a friend's house where we'd been hanging out all afternoon, looked up, and noticed that the sky suddenly had molars).

What I saw this afternoon looked more like this - the first two images. And I was sure we were in for it, but it turned out to be only light showers.

I grew up in the northeast, where thunderstorms will bucket down on you and someone will get struck by lightning and killed at least two or three times a summer. And there's very often hail. But really, lightning is the biggest thing to be afraid of in the northeast, though there are, very occasionally but more often in recent years, tornados. Severe thunderstorms in the northeast tend to look like this. If you're driving through the mountains when one of these comes crawling over them, you'll find yourself practically in the cloud. It's kind of like having a hand stretched above you with the fingers reaching down. Rather creepy. Very cool.

But in the midwest, I've seen some interesting cloud formations. One is the above-mentioned mammatus clouds, which I did see once on the east coast, in Hartford, CT, on our way to a play (the thunderclap when we arrived at the theater was so loud that all the car alarms along the street went off simultaneously). But other than that, I've only ever seen them in the midwest. The other is the roll cloud, which I've seen once, and it looks like this. I saw one of these coming from a ways off a few years ago and grabbed my video camera; I filmed it all the way in. (It was pretty anticlimactic when it got here, but it was still cool.)

When I figure out how to scan my photos from the hurricane in 1990 - can't think of it's name, but I was in CT at the time and it was spectacular - I will post them here.


ken said...

I remember that hurricane--was it Gloria? I was entering high school and I remember my first day of band camp got cancelled because of it.
I grew up in NE too and don't remember a lot of hail. Nothing like I have seen out here in the mid-west. Before the tornadoes hit our town two weeks ago we were picking up (and dodging in the process!) golf ball sized hail which I have never seen in NE. But the number of times I have had to pull over because of the driving rain during thunderstorms...

plain(s)feminist said...

Ooh, yeah, it might have been Gloria. I couldn't remember - there have been three hurricanes that made enough of an impact on where I was living that I remember them. And I think it was Andrew in '85, right? I remember going to visit the college I ended up attending and all the windows had big, tape "Xs" on them. (The third was in the fall of '91, and my first day of work was cancelled because the school's central computer system got hit by lightning.)

My friend in Indianapolis has some of that golf-ball-sized hail in her freezer. It was quite something to see. Mothball size is about the biggest I'd seen before that.