It wasn’t on the forecast. The weather report was hot and dry for at least the next ten days. Utah is a desert. Summers are hot. We expect that. What wasn’t expected was an afternoon thunderstorm complete with thunder and lightening.
I was standing outside my office looking at mostly blue sky with patchy clouds over the South part of the valley. But, directly over our offices in South Jordan the rain came pounding down. It puddled in the parking lot and ran inches deep in the gutters. The rain gutter fed a steady stream of dirty water off the roof.
A flash followed by an deep shaking BOOM announced a nearby lightening strike.
A coworker who drives a nice car came out to check that the rain wasn’t turning to hail. Another coworker headed to lunch joined me on the covered stoop as we enjoyed the rain that our state so desperately needed.
This storm didn’t come from the ocean, the source of most of our storms. Instead it simply “sprung up” on it’s own as the hot Southern winds mixed with the humidity and the heat.
An ocean storm is forecast well in advance. We watch it track across the Northern Pacific and come down through Washington and Oregon, or we watch it come from further south as it makes landfall in California. Regardless of the source, the storm smashes first into the mountains, the Northern Olympic and Cascades, or the Souther Sierra Nevada.
Anything that makes it over the mountain ranges finally gets to Utah. But, we have plenty of warning.
Not so with pop-up thunderstorms. They form in a just a couple of hours and came dissipate just as quickly.
My son and I sat outside this evening watching the lightening reflected against the house across the street. The rains came again, but softer this time.
The thunder was a near constant roll. And like the earlier storm, it was localized. As I looked West from my front porch I could see clear sky and even a star or two in the twilight.
It was a refreshing change from the heat we’ve dealt with the past week.
And it was completely unexpected.
Sometimes forecasts can be a boring way to learn about the weather.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here
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