What a Difference a Day Makes!

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.

Photo: Sparks Lake, 2015

Even the level of Sparks Lake, also known as our front porch, has remained so high that I have had to resort to putting mosquito-repellant ‘dunks‘ designed for standing water applications on the concrete. At least now we can advertise our home as waterfront property.

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.Photo: Just Like the Storm Never Happened

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.

13 thoughts on “What a Difference a Day Makes!

  1. Metroplex and Tonado Alley are really getting pounded. I see the wall of dark clouds not far from here as it slides towards the coast, but to far the Gulf is packing enough of a punch to hold it back.
    Travis and lots of suffering almost dry lakes are getting some relief…which is good, but all at one time, and with so much wind/damage. Stay safe. Looks like a rough week ahead. (Nice puddle pix of tree branches – hope they all stay right where they belong – on the standing trees!)

    • I hope you’re doing okay *now*!! The weirdness continues, doesn’t it. After a 64-degree temp deluge here again yesterday, with almost continuous crash-and-growl, today it was 80-something and sunny almost all day (I walked to the doctor’s office a mile away and back in leisurely comfort). And now, at quarter to 9 pm, thunder and lightning going at it all over again. But thankfully, the nearby flash floods have filled up everything around but not damaged us, our car, our home, or the workplace. Yet. Now the hail or rain is starting.

      Hope you’re keeping safe and sane [but only relatively, if possible!!!], too. Thinking of you!

  2. Your backyard is stunning! Isn’t it crazy how one moment it’s storming so hard then the next bright blue skies? It can be like that here. We are supposed to have a huge storm. I got all the yard work done just in case. So far, not even a drop of rain.

    • I’m pretty sure somebody’s messing with the Light Switch and has built a giant bowling alley outside our place. Again! Stay safe and dry, dear Koko! 😀

      • Today it’s storming. I mowed the front yard. I almost finished before the downpour! I’m not going to complain…the rain sure makes everything clean and pretty! 🙂 Have a lovely day!

        • Don’t you just love the smell of the earth after a good rain? Not so much after flooding, of course—that’s just too rapacious and drags garbage and rot hither and yon—but the fresh scents released from the ground and plants after a thorough watering are delicious.

        • Yes I love the smell! And when it doesn’t rain, one can most likely find me watering just so I can recreate the scent! 😉

  3. I tell you, Mother Nature is extremely angry about how we have treated her earth and she is giving us a little bit of a hiding – all over the world the weather is causing so much havoc and destruction. I worry so about all the animals.
    Here’s to your weather improving Kath or maybe you will have to invest in a pair of water wings (you know those ones we used to wear on our arms when we were little).
    Have a beautiful day dear and enjoy the sunshine before the next storm.
    🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

    • Perfect timing, that I should come across your injunction just now: after yesterday’s massive blast of a storm, and before tonight’s newly-started one, we had (today) a gloriously sunny, not-quite-too-hot day. My head is spinning! But yes, Ma Nature has her reasons to be mightily cross with us. I hope we can figure out ways to begin to treat her more kindly, no matter what she dishes out to us—like planting as much Spekboom everywhere as we can!
      Love and hugs,

  4. I saw on the BBC yesterday that there have been terrible floods in Texas, and thought of you.
    I was with my 93 year old Mother, who said…’I didn’t think they had rain in Texas’ –
    Enjoy the day because one thing is certain in life, Change.:) Janet. xxx

    • Never a truer word was spoken. 🙂 We are safe, so far, though others around us are not so fortunate. I feel a little like someone took the globe and moved everything on it around a little bit, since the weather is appropriate and normal, just not for the places where it’s happening. (((scratching head in bemusement!))) Wishing you lovely weather, my dear, you and your 93 year old mother. 😀

  5. Glad you survived the storm Kathryn – I liked your wee video! We’ve had a lot of unseasonable rain too but no tornadoes in this part of the world. We do get horizontal rain however, as opposed to your vertical down pore. I guess ours is a sideways pour!

    • We’ve had a few of those crazy horizontal shots lately, too, but most of it has kept smashing straight down. With a nice, hours-long sunny break in the middle of today, though, which felt surprisingly welcome! Whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at us all, may we stay safe, whether in your part of the world or ours. 🙂

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