Saturday, September 13, 2008

Far from the storm

We are accustomed to almost ever-fair conditions here in Southern California. There is an old joke about local weather forecasters not actually needing any credentials because “75 degrees and sunny” is an accurate prediction about 95% of the time.

But as I post this, Hurricane Ike is battering my beloved home state of Texas. I remember the many tropical storms that passed through when I was growing up in Austin. The sky would fill with black clouds and the horizon would glow with an eerie, almost neon shade of green before water fell in sheets and countless lightening bolts zapped at least one old live oak into burning embers. Trees were uprooted. Neighborhoods were flooded. And those storms weren’t even hurricanes.

I don’t know what the dawn light will reveal along the delicate Texas coast where I spent so many languid, dreamy summer days as a young girl, or in Houston where loved ones now brace, batten down and bail water.

I can only send hope.


Virginia said...

Amen, Sister!

Columbo said...

Still watching Ike and all the damage so far. Having lived in Austin, has got to be especially hard on you. We are very lucky living in an area that doesn't have to contend with hurricanes or tornados (once in awhile). I did visit Austin for awhile and boy did it rain! Nice city and great Country Western clubs.

Yak Pate said...

I doubt this was your intention, but this photo makes me think of looking up to a higher power. If there is one, I don't care what her name is or who invented her... please protect the beauty and love and tender memories of Laurie's childhood home, Texas.

Hilda said...

I'm a Catholic and I hope you don't mind my saying that I'll be praying for your hometown — and every other place that Ike will be passing.

I hope that all the friends and family you left in Texas will be safe.

Sharon said...

Beautiful thoughts for this morning. More good thoughts will be headed toward Texas!

Double "D" said...

It's a lovely photo and brings
hope for all in the path of "Ike"

I've heard Californian's call your
current weather "polaroid weather"
Take care.

ben wideman said...

Great photo Laurie. Our thoughts and prayers are with the gulf coast once again.

altadenahiker said...

As a kid in Illinois, our threat was tornados. There was a graduating degree of threat, something like tornado watch, tornado danger, and TORNADO. Then you were supposed to be in either the northwest west corner of the basement or the southeast corner. Or the northeast corner, or the...We never knew, so I don't think we hit the basement more than once.

Anonymous said...

Heres a "I've never lived anywhere else but southern California" stupid weather question. Are hurricanes only associated with the coast? If it's inland it's a tornado? Neon green really?

Petrea said...

PA, you have to have a lot of water with your wind to have a hurricane, so it's a coastal thing. Tornadoes could happen near a coast, I guess. We've had them near here, but that's rare. Tornadoes are more common in the central United States.

I grew up in Illinois, too. We never knew which corner of the basement to hide in, either. Mostly we tried to see the tornadoes coming. If we spotted one, then we knew it was time to get down below.

USelaine said...

Scary stuff indeed. I hope all stay safe.

Laurie said...

Hi everyone,

I guess we've all watched the coverage of the extensive damage caused by Ike. If you are inclined to donate, here is a link to the hurricane greater area Red Cross.

Pasadena Adjacent, if I remember correctly, tornados form as rotating air columns between clouds and the earth. They can have big wind speeds and can travel a few miles before dissipating. Usually a couple of tornados are formed from one large thunderstorm of a class known as supercells. Hurricanes -- also called cyclones, which might be why they are confused with tornadoes --are giant storm systems with numerous thunderstorms that circle around the low pressure point. They develop over large bodies of warm water and fizzle out eventually over land.

ANd that is the extent of what I remember from my college meteorology class and many hours spent with the Weather channel on as background noise. :-)

Oh, and about those green skies in Texas. The horizon right under the big black thunderstorm clouds often does turn an almost neon shade of green briefly before a huge storm lets loose. I don't know if it's the electricity or just the weird light refraction with those big, dark clouds but it's pretty amazing. Texas storms are truly humbling. I can't imagine what a hurricane must be like if the huge thunderstorms I remember are merely the downgraded tropical storms.

Lets all keep those prayers and good wishes flowing to the gulf coast.

Thanks everyone.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Laurie.
I have a friend who left the area about 15 years ago for Austin. Maybe I can get her to rake a picture of one of those neon green skys. It's been a hard weekend both here and there.

Laurie said...

PA, lots of Los Angeles people are in Austin. And lots of Austin folks moved here -- especially those who studied film and television at UT. I'm amazed at how many Southern Cal people are there now. (Two words: housing prices!)

It's a wonderful, arty city filled with amazing outdoor beauty and a musician on every corner. It's local phrase is "Keep Austin Weird." If you've never been, you should visit your friend!