Yes, the age-old adage, “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute,” whether Mark Twain originated it or not, is as true as ever in north Texas. Winter was generally milder than average in the metroplex, with only a couple of brief ice storms to remind us it was winter. But then, we’ve had a spate of rainstorms here this spring that must be at least close to setting some records for the region’s seasonal rainfall and low average temperatures, and certainly I can attest to the practically tropical greens and lushness of the landscape as compared to my previous 5+ years living in the area. A glance at the lake levels charts is almost comically improbable; even the small line reading “Change since yesterday” today reads “↑ 0.70 feet,” meaning that nearby Ray Roberts Lake has risen nearly 21.5 cm in under 24 hours. For a place that has languished well under normal levels for several years, being still below “full pool” as late as 11 April this year, that’s a tidy bit of change.
The last few days have been especially showy in their showers. On Thursday night, our drive home from Dallas was merely rainy at the beginning, but the last half hour was lit with such constant sheet lightning and the soundtrack of equally omnipresent grumbling thunder that it was film-worthy. I shot 30 minutes of iPhone footage that would have given a Steadicam a seizure, but of course it’s too long to link here and would probably give my reading friends dizzy fits. Not to mention the incredible circus-like blur of lights as the rain obscured and abstracted everything, and the couple of times that waves literally engulfed the whole car, even at crawling speeds. But as there was no place to stop on the freeway for shelter, all of us simply lumbered on, determined. I did, however, shoot a couple of very brief clips at home over the weekend, as the fun continued.
Yesterday, in fact (Sunday), the local tornado warning sirens went on around 2 or 2:30 pm. They kept up their mournful moaning for well over an hour, accompanied by warnings via telephone and computer from the National Weather Service that our county was under flash flood warnings until the wee hours of today. The wind picked up quite a bit, even in our sheltered spot between a low rise toward the street and our back fence line along the small runoff ravine, where we sit pretty comfortably sandwiched between higher lots and houses on the sides. Our great oak and pear trees whispered more urgently than usual that we should batten down the hatches and keep away from the windows. The lightning and thunder that had been holding their dramatic interchange all through Saturday night and Sunday morning kept at it like a couple of elderly housemates nagging at each other without more than a moment’s pause for breath. Somewhere around 3:30 pm, I thought it prudent to quit sneaking onto the porches for a gawk at the squalling mess and hunkered down in the quietest part of the house to write until the sirens stopped and the storm abated. And it did. The worst here had stopped shortly after, the eye of the storm now past us.
We were among the most fortunate, in our safely tucked-in hideaway at home. For a glimpse at some of the nearby damage, click this link. Yes, a couple of deaths have been confirmed and plenty of damage has been sustained. It is nowhere near the levels and expanse of more famous storms and disasters around the world, but my heart goes out to those who had a harder time of it during this go-round than we have; as I’ve said many a time before, suffering is a relative thing, and one’s pain in the moment may as well be the only pain in the world. The people who were hit hard by this latest storm, whether the ones three miles down the road from us or those in other counties and across the state line, have my true sympathy, and I feel all the more fortunate for the ease of our escape.
Today, less than 24 hours later, this is what it looks like in our idyllic little backyard. Blue skies, bright sun, thriving garden, and receding puddles where the walking path had been a fast-flowing stream. I look at it in amazement and scratch my head a little. The weather forecast tells me to expect rain tomorrow and the next day, and thunderstorms again for a full week afterward. All I can do is keep living my life and see what comes.
Meanwhile, I need to get back out to the garage and figure out how to reset our water heater, because the storm knocked it out of commission.