Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unusual Weather Event

This is about something that happened just a couple of days ago in my area of Southern California.

Photo ©2010 Helen Dawson

It's really interesting how our weather can change so quickly. Recently, we had temperatures 112 degrees for three days in a row. Our humidity was at only 5%. Suddenly, I could hear lightning flashes causing static on my radio, the static from the lightning could be heard for about twenty minutes.

Since I have lived here for twenty-six years, I know that it is not unusual for the desert to our east to get massive storms during the extreme summer weather. They may or may not get rain from these storms. There are actually time in the inland deserts that it rains hard, even the summer, but it's been so hot and the humidity so very low, the rain evaporates before it hit the parched ground of the desert.

Where I live, if you go outside, especially in the evening, after such weather, you will see a massive display of lightning and those massive billowing white clouds, rising thousands of feet into the air. It's really impressive to watch these storms taking place more than 80 to 100 miles away, and watch the gigantic lightning striking across the sky, from one horizon to the other. Before the area got so built up, we would walk to the end of out road, where there was nothing blocking the view, and in late afternoon, or after dark, we just stood in awe, watching nature's fireworks display that dwarfs anything man can create with his version of fireworks.

I went outside to see what the situation in the desert to the south-east was, since it appeared we may be affected this time.

I checked to be sure there was no damage from the strong winds. It was then that I saw the most impressive clouds: Huge, white billowing clouds, gigantic in size, and rising very high in the heavens. Yet, they were only in some places, and not covering the entire area.

I took my photos, and returned to load them onto my computer, when the wind started to blow, and blow even harder.

In the next few minutes, the temperature had fallen about ten degrees, and the humidity rose from 5% to 22%, within minutes

Within a few minutes, people were losing power, and in just a few more minutes, there were news reports on the radio that the area south of us about 15 miles, had a fire that was caused by the lightning, and there were also flash flood warnings for that area as well.

Just about the same time, the area about 5 miles north, they had a power pole that was hit by lightning, causing the power lines to fall across the street, and land atop a public transit bus containing passengers. They also were under flash flood warnings.

Fortunately no one on the bus was injured, but they did have to stay onboard, until someone from the power company could come shut off power to the area, to allow the passengers to escape the damaged bus, and they power to be re-routed, making it possible to replace the broken pole.

Meanwhile, we were right between both affected areas, and we got not one drop or rain, nor any very nearby lightning. Micro-cell weather certainly can be strange, can't it?

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