Wednesday, June 4, 2008


We had a very loud and very strong thunderstorm this afternoon. I had to run a few errands and when I left the house it was perhaps a little cloudy. I thought it might rain but I told myself I would be home before then. A mile down the road it started bucketing down in torrents, the wind picked up and the trees were almost bent double, debris flying everywhere.

I pulled into a parking lot having tried to go to the bank teller machine. Even though I was under an overhang the wind was so intense I got drenched opening the window just a little bit. I decided to drive into a parking space to wait for the worst to be over. There were flashes of lightning going horizontally against the sky in wide bands, quite spectacular against that black sky. I have never seen horizontal flashes before, vertical ones yes but never horizontal.

I was getting extremely nervous sitting in the car and checked the clouds to see if there were any funnels forming. Feeling a bit overly dramatic for doing so, I even looked for a ditch I could hide in but I was in the middle of a concrete parking lot surrounded by buildings. Last time I saw weather this bad was years ago when a tornado furrowed a path and took the walls off houses about a mile from our home. Over the last couple of months we have had several warnings but have never experienced the kind of devastation they have caused in other parts of the country. After a while the rain lessened, the wind died down and I felt comfortable enough to continue. The ATM screen looked like a psychedelic light show, so Sherlock deduced that she wouldn't be getting any money out of it and Mr. Plastic would have to do for the next stop. I am getting an aversion to using him lately as I have a conniption every time the bill comes. I went to the post office and dropped off my mail, then on to the supermarket to pick up a few items. After that I was very glad to be on my way home with groceries in the trunk.

The traffic light was out going into our neighborhood and the main road was blocked off. It was like rush hour as cars were detoured down our 25 mph road which made it extremely congested. People were on doorsteps wondering why all the traffic.

I turned the corner into our cul-de-sac and saw that our next-door neighbor's tree had a huge branch broken off, a nice sight to greet them on their return but at least it didn't fall on their roof. I had a chat with another neighbor across the road when she came to retrieve her little Westie and Cairn Terriers who had run over barking their little heads off, trying to keep all territorial-takers at bay. They were big and brave until I took a step towards them to say hello, and immediately I had a great view of their little behinds flying away at light-speed, and I laughed as they hid behind their mommy. Good job they were inside when the storm hit as I think they would have been doing a pretty good Toto impersonation and not finding themselves in Kansas anymore. Yes, groan all you want, I can be pretty corny at times, especially where small, cute and adorable fur-babies are concerned.

Brad called his Dad to see if we were okay as he couldn't get a hold of me. He said a big oak tree had fallen outside his apartment onto a parked car. He and Lisa were drenched going to the Reston Zoo but they were fine otherwise.

The electricity was out for several hours but is now back on, and our phones that act wacky even with a little rain, are totally down and probably won’t be in use until tomorrow. I am hoping that all the cheese and butter, eggs and milk have stood the test. I opened the fridge door only once to throw all my perishables in. On reflection maybe that wasn’t such a good idea as I let all the cold air out didn't I, and it’s been awfully muggy today? If it’s a bit smelly in the morning I will know not to do that again.

I won't be taking any baked goods into work. Best laid plans of mice and men, and those mad women who volunteer to cook for small restaurants at home, have to take their chances when Mother Nature comes knocking on the door.

This tree is about half a mile from our house. I have admired it for many years. I was told years ago that General Robert E Lee once stood underneath its boughs. I have never been able to verify this interesting bit of information, so whether it is an urban legend I have no idea.
Below is our neighbor's tree, looking a little worse for wear.


  1. that sounds frightening, glad you got through the storm fine though!!

  2. Thanks Gill, we fared pretty well but there was a lot of damage done across the county, people have new skylights thanks to trees falling on their rooves, and sadly I heard of at least one fatality.