Wild weather puts on a spectacular, and dangerous, show
July 16, 2002
All I have to say is WHEW!
Was that one wild weekend of weather or what? I’m thankful that I’m not in Oz with Dorothy.
My lifetime in Nevada has taught me much about the weather, namely that the old adage — “If you don’t like the weather in Nevada, wait five minutes and it will change” — has a bit more than just a ring of truth to it.
From our south-facing, second-story windows on Mallory Way we had such a show Saturday that we in the newsroom considered charging for admission. The lightning was flashing so fiercely and so often you couldn’t see it all. It was like being in a dance club without the cigarette smoke and the music.
I was almost sure the S on the hill for Stewart wouldn’t be here today, but it is, which can’t be said for the three trailers in Stagecoach that were leveled Friday.
Are you sure we’re not in Kansas?
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I’m not sure what the whole microburst thing is all about, except that I’m glad I wasn’t in Stagecoach at the time, but something roared through my house in Johnson Lane about 1 a.m. Friday that I don’t care to experience again.
The windows were all open. If you remember, that’s the night the temps stayed in the mid 70s. It was hot and there was no breeze.
Well, about 1 a.m. the wind kicked up and things started blowing off the windowsills, doors were slamming and I’m sure the curtains were at full sail.
I couldn’t see much, having been wakened from a dead sleep by all the commotion, but I bumped around closing windows and opening doors. By the time I had things back under control I was counting my blessings that a breeze had kicked up. Then it stopped. I couldn’t believe it. So, back to bed I went, bewildered and hot.
Friday dawned bright and clear. Sounds like you’ve heard this before, huh? Anyway, the morning was bright and clear and the only witness I could find to the nocturnal storm wasn’t talking. But the layer of dust in my house is tremendous. The Johnson Lane sand generally blows mercilessly anyway, but this was the worst I’ve seen so far. I could write my name on top of the dining room table if I desired. But what I really wanted was some one or some thing to write me a message in all the dust telling me why it was necessary to wake me and make such a giant mess out of things.
It didn’t and I just wiped the grit away thinking “that must have been one pissed-off dust devil to make such a fuss.”
Friday we dogged the weather gods and tried with the help of the National Weather Service to prepare you all for what was ahead.
I headed to work Saturday wondering what was going to be next. Friday had been quite interesting with all the black clouds and warnings to watch for more. As the day wore on the blue skies turned to grey, and then — excuse the French — all hell broke lose.
The purple skies were streaked with bolts of pink lightning. C Hill was set afire, wind was wreaking havoc with the power lines and buckets of cats and dogs came tumbling from the sky.
The power went out at least three times that I remember, but what was even weirder was that the computers went out too, not all of them, only some — and while the power was still on.
We had a booming shake of thunder just above us and then my computer went out. An event little worthy of note except that the computers of my counterparts’ didn’t. We’re just feet away from each other in the newsroom.
I figure somewhere in the vast corners of our new building there’s a lightning strike just lurking and waiting for the perfect time to make itself known.
There was so much weather that the photographer was having a tough time finding which weather to shoot. Through it all, though, the champions of the day still shined. The power came back on. The paper still came out, and the firefighters kept most of our homes and more safe from destruction.
The residents of Stagecoach weren’t as lucky, but nobody was hurt or worse, and for that we are thankful.
Mostly though we’re proud to be in Nevada, where the weather changes every five minutes and it’s never boring.
Kelli Du Fresne, features editor for the Nevada Appeal, is terrified of lightning but loves to run in the rain.