Wednesday, August 13, 2003

You've Just Got To Love Texas Weather...

Remember my blog in February about 80 degree heat followed two days later by an ice storm? Well, last week, we had five straight days of 100+ degrees (Fahrenheit) heat, with Friday being 110 degrees. The weatherpeople were predicting another week of 100+ degree temperatures but the next day it dropped into the low 90s and upper 80s -- and stayed there until Monday, when a "pulse severe thunderstorm" erupted on the northern part of Austin, Texas...

It was pretty intense. We heard the thunder in the distance, getting closer, so my wife got offline and turned off the computer. Having once lost a beloved 14.4 modem to a thunderstorm in 1996, I tend to err on the side of paranoid when it comes to thunderstorms and computers. So, we unplugged the modem from the computer and unplugged the surge protectors (where the computer and monitor were plugged in) from the wall outlet. About five minutes later, a bolt of lightning struck a tree beside our house -- and it was so close, we could see it and it set off the smoke detector alarm! A moment later, the power went out. Had the computer been hooked up and online, it might have fried the modem -- and maybe even the computer!! So, sometimes mild paranoia pays off, you see!

Well, as it turns out (believe it or not), the "storm" itself hadn't even "hit" yet. I went out to pull our van into the garage, just in case it "might" hail. I had just pulled the van into the garage when suddenly, there was a massive gust of wind, so intense that, when I looked in the side view mirror of the van, all I saw outside was WHITE, no details -- like looking into fog, except it was wind and rain. Then the hail began, tossed by these winds, which were in excess of 60 miles an hour! Hearing the hail pelt against the back of the van, I forced myself to go to the back of the garage and pull down the door. After that, the hail really started slamming against the garage door. I got back inside, where my wife had already taken the kids into the front bathroom, just in case a tornado occurred. Both my wife and my kids were great in the midst of the storm. My son Adam let me know everything was going to be alright, he had already said a prayer.

I appreciated his optimism. My wife and I both said silent prayers as well.

Less than 10 minutes later, the winds died down and the rain and thunder stopped. I went outside to survey the damage. That bolt of lightning we'd seen and heard had split two parts of the same tree -- tossing one part to the left side of our yard and another part to the right side of our yard -- and these were not small parts of the tree! There was wind and lightning damage to trees all along our street but we were grateful noone had been hurt. Another wave of rain and thunder moved in later that evening and caused a brief loss of power but nowhere near as severe as the first.

In the northern part of the city, there had been a lot of damage but no lives were lost.

We got to see the unpredictable wonder of the power of God through nature and His mercy as well.

Best Wishes,