Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blowing Around In a Storm Pocket

Our little town appears to be in a storm pocket being closest to a large mountain range.  Last night something terrible came through.  This was the only storm I've ever been in that seriously worried me.  I figured I'd be calling the insurance company with claims in the morning, if I survived.  I don't even know what to name this type of storm.  It was a freak of nature that began with the whole sky lighting up every few seconds with lightning bolts in between.  Then this horrific wind blew in that gusted at hurricane force, mixed in were funnels of swirling air like tornadoes.  The news is reporting "microbursts".

I went outside with my camera and tucked myself into a corner under an awning on the porch and just kept firing off the shutter release in hopes of catching a lightning flash.  I didn't bother with tripods and camera settings, because I was half asleep and didn't know how much time I had to get setup before it started raining.  The gusts of wind blew so hard that it was difficult to hold the camera still, and a few times I got blown right out of my nook across the porch.  As soon as I felt my hair standing on end and smelled ozone, I battled my way back into the house, but getting the door open was no easy feat.

I was afraid to sleep in my bed, because the head of the bed is right up against a window.  I worried that I might get struck by lightning.  The dogs, surprisingly, handled the storm pretty well.  Midge did have to be crated, but she didn't tear her teeth and toenails out on the bars.  Scrappy and Stewie just slept with me, totally unconcerned about all the thunder, lightning, and sounds of patio furniture crashing around outside.  I'd peek outside every once in a while to make sure that all the horses were staying in the barn and were still standing upright.  They were at risk of getting struck by lightning, but I didn't know what to do about it, because I didn't want to lock them in their stalls since the barn is metal.

What is scary is how fast the weather changes around here.  Just a few hours before this storm, P.S. and the horse trainer were out riding Bombay and Gabbrielle on the trails.  Could you imagine getting stuck in a storm like that while trail riding?  But they didn't get stuck in it, because the weather was fine at that point in time.  P.S. brought good news back from the ride.  She said she was able to lope Gabbrielle in a nice, relaxed, controlled manner in open spaces.

Also, the horse trainer pushed Bombay through a really deep puddle.  P.S. showed me a video, and his tail was floating behind him.  P.S. said that Bombay looked like he was going to try to buck the horse trainer off while resisting entering the puddle, but I guess he knew better than to try that stunt with him.  None of my Arabs have ever gone swimming before.  I wish they had morning appointments so I could join them, but they ride right when I've got to fix dinner for everyone and administer medications.  With a diabetic dog, I can't just jump on a horse, go riding, and feed and medicate hours later.  I've got to stick with a strict routine or Midge will have grand mal seizures.  Also, after hours of such intense heat, I may as well be deemed as brain dead.  I get so listless that I can't even carry on a conversation, none-the-less tack up a horse.

Here are some pictures I got during and after the storm.  This group of pictures were taken at night.  Lightning and porch lights were the only sources of light.




Here I used a flash to see what just happened.  A whirlwind picked up several chairs and threw them against the railings.  There's another chair just out of frame on its side.  I have no idea why that one white chair remained upright the whole time.

In the morning I found the horse trailer tack room door had been ripped open by the wind again...


The metal arm is soft as a string of boiled spaghetti now...

When I closed the door, the metal arm bent up on itself.  There's no point in taking my the trailer into the repair shop to get a new arm mechanism installed unless they can also fix the latch on the door.

This next picture is only odd to me.  I had placed some fly trap containers right side up in the hay barn to keep them from blowing away.  I didn't want to put them in the horse trailer or the garage, because they stunk.  Somehow the wind picked up one of them and turned it upside down in that tight spot...




The door mat used to be up by the railing.  I think it's odd how the mat blew around, but the empty dog bowls stayed in their usual spots.

My neighbor's flag got wrapped around the pole so that it looks like it is a half mast...

A tree branch broke off our Palo Verde tree...

I saw garbage and tarps strewn up and down the street.  One thing I really love about his house is that the previous owners designed it with curved solid walls to protect the trash cans and air conditioners from high winds, and the design works.  Our trash cans were still upright, while the neighbors' cans didn't fare so well.

The horses were fine in the morning.  They appear to have nerves of steel when it comes to dealing with Mother Nature's tirades.

5 comments:

Sam said...

I've been caught in one of those storms once - it wasn't predicted by the weather channel and we thought we were fine for a ride. Not something I would ever recommend!

Cheryl Ann said...

We, too, were caught in one of those micro bursts one time over by Camelback mountain...It uprooted umbrellas and blew them all over the resort! One man was injured. We don't seem to have them over here (fortunately). Hey, we'll be over in Phoenix Sunday, then up to the Rim for a week, then...BLEAH...back to school for a week of training and then school starts.
Cheryl Ann

lilyrose said...

National weather service called it a 'macroburst', first one we've seen in over twelve years here. The guy said we had wind gusts up to 100 mph!
Lightning hit a transformer on our neighbor's telephone pole...the whole sky went white. The wind also took out the street sign and stop sign at the end of our road. When I came out in the morning, all of our porch furniture was upended except for one chair. Weird. Also, it ripped some wood off the side of one of our stalls. My hubby had attached it to keep the wind from blowing all the shavings out. Ha! We also leave our horses out during storms. They are actually a lot less nervous. Glad you didn't have any major damage.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Yeah, they upgraded it to macrobursts after I wrote the post, and I never bothered to update it. Just today I took a closer look at the tree that lost a branch and discovered four branches on the ground, one was lying across my neighbor's driveway. I dragged that one back to our yard.

achieve1dream said...

Wow, that's crazy! I love the pictures. That's really cool how your house is designed to protect the trash cans. :)

Also congrats on the success with the horses. I wish you could have ridden with them too.