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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fright'ning Lightning! Stormin' Norma Stampedes!


As most of the world knows, we Californians have suffered a drought of eight or only four years, depending on whether you are trying to sell overbuilt housing tracts here since boards of supervisors have worn (from well-paid overuse) the "Okeydokeys" off their rubber stamps.

Norma and I live in a crazy old farmhouse --given another 35 years or so, we'll have it fixed-- and if we see weather instead of a sky full of nothing, we get excited. So when we heard thunder this afternoon instead of  a deafening paucity of anything meteorological, she dashed out to record it.

After gardening over 30 years and having to hit the ground with ears ringing several times, I felt compelled to warn her not to go too far. She went out two or three hundred feet. Turn up the volume and observe:


By my calculation, according to the video time-count, Norma ran the hundred-yard dash in slightly under four seconds. I was impressed. When she decided to become a photographer and grandmother,  American football lost a champion running back.

32 comments:

  1. Geo, I know that wasn't funny as it was happening, but in retrospect it's hilarious. It's a good thing Norma wasn't zapped - - and a REALLY good thing that she's such a nimble runner.

    I was raised in Southern California and remained a weather virgin until I moved to the Missouri Ozarks..I was literally stunned by the incredible amount of severe (and I mean SEVERE) storms and tornadoes they have (I still haven't sufficiently recovered from the shock). I now have a profound respect for lightning and Mother Nature.

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    1. Jon, I never get Norma's limits. I heard the neighbor across the west field call "drop" when black clouds shoveled down from the north, and knew what he meant but the sky was so suddenly dramatic I knew she would get her photo. Went out after her but she was already running --spun me around a couple times.

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  2. She's a braver woman than I - the first rumble or gathering of black clouds and I'm inside for the duration! And we get quite a few thunder and lightning storms throughout our summers here. I'm glad your wife is okay. Did you get any rain out of those clouds?

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    1. Don't know how much rain we got. Friend fell off his ladder checking his gauge. He's 80 and ok. Weather's supposed to stay in the sky here and we're not used to it coming down.

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  3. We finally got some much needed rain yesterday. The garden is drinking deep and my heart is singing.
    I am a wimp where thunder and lightening are concerned though. Twice now I have been at home alone when the house has been struck.
    I am so pleased that Nimble Norma is safe. And loved her video of those brooding skies.

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    1. We deserve rain. We're taxpayers. How alarming to have your house struck, though!

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  4. That is kinda scary! Having lived in the mid-west we experienced many thunderstorms. The best place to be is inside.

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  5. 100 yard dash in 4 seconds? I'd hazard the guess that everyone in the athletics world would be mightily impressed at that. What an amazing little quantum Norma is!

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    1. I may have exaggerated slightly, but she is amazing.

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  6. That was some return trip but I do love the sound of a thunder storm. We sit on the porch to watch and listen as long as the wind isn't blowing in our direction. A few years ago we were sitting there enjoying the storm when lightning hit the transformer in front of our house. Sparkly!!

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    1. Yikes! Sparkly is an understatement.

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  7. Well that sound (and ominous sky) could make a champion sprinter out of many. Norma might want to try cross country now.

    I talked to my Santa Cruz daughter yesterday and she said that although rain was predicted, not a drop had been seen so far. We, who have too much, wish we could share.

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    1. San Francisco's been getting rain. Sometimes the wind is selective.

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  8. Hi Geo - I certainly hope the drought breaks (gently so no flooding) .. I've never liked thunder and lightning .. but they're part of life ... and I just quietly disappear and wait it out. Fantastic video though .. but must have been a shock .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Happily just an adrenalin shock and not an electric one.

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  9. Norma is quite the runner, then ... and quite brave ..
    The drought there is so terrible ...I am praying for rain for Ca.

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    1. All prayers appreciated, and yes Norma is as fleet of foot as she is brave.

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  10. Dear Geo., I read about California's awfull drought today in a German newspaper. That reminds me of a colleague and friend (geologist - we are all from different sciences in our team) , who started to dance in Hannover when the rain poured down (I was mewing a bit) - "That", he said, "that is the way they hailed rain when I was in Africa." I loved that change in perspective (at the moment I love every change of persepective) - and think it is very wise & quick how Norma runs back to the safety of your home!

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    1. I too dance when it rains --like Africans and scientists. But, when lightning strikes, I think with my feet --like Norma.

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  11. I absolutely love a good storm. We often go out to dance in the rain. Even my grandson who we don't see often (who is being raised by his mother who doesn't like rain) runs out to spin joyfully with his face to the sky. Thunder and lightning moves us inside just because it is the smart thing to do.

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    1. You, your grandson and I are in accord. I still go out and feel that perfect distillate of the universe splashing on my face. We share a third of our DNA with plants and a lot of our emotions.

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  12. I've noticed in recent years on visits to Seattle and LA thunderstorms are far more frequent than in past years. We get some impressive ones in the Rockies also.

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    1. Mike, I'm beginning to suspect these meteorologic tantrums reflect psychic schisms of this brash new century as they roil, roll and run out of land. Decidedly, as evening comes to the nation, the west coast suffers.

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  13. That was just good fun.

    We had a huge explosion of sound and light hit the house a couple years ago. Knocked out my computer, the stereo, and, seemingly Liza Bean Bitey (of the MInneapolis Biteys), who now slides her striped butt under the recliner at the first hint of thunder.

    Pearl

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    1. Yikes! It's never struck the house here but I bet that was scary. Cat sets a wise example.

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  14. Storms are my biggest fear and thankfully rather rare in Scotland. I physically shake the second I'm aware of it! Norma is a heroine in my opinion!

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  15. I do hope Norma is a forgiving soul. I've been close to a number of strikes and they've all could have helped me set a new speed record.

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    1. I am not sure of that part of her character. She has tolerated me because I manage to avoid the unforgivable. Nature would be well-advised to do likewise.

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  16. Watching the video, I was enjoying listening to the storm and thunder then I understood that she was in the open somewhere rather than watching from an open window. It was a quick retreat.

    Here we get thunder and lightning so often, even in winter. We live a couple of miles from Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park – where a big Civil War battle was fought. Sometimes the thunder is low grumbling and steady, and it sounds just like cannons … but maybe I am not hearing the thunder after all ….

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    1. Indeed. I had two great-grandfathers involved in the Civil War. One running guns on the Mississippi River, another was a Confederate infantryman who might have been at Kennesaw. I read their old letters home, their certainty of profit and fighting a just war and must conclude, if ever a war should NOT have happened it is the one manifested in the ghostly cannonade you hint at. We must listen to the thunder, take it personally and work for peace on earth.

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