Not Cupid’s Bow

My Albino Ex was addicted to all sorts of emergencies and kept a fire and emergency scanner going in the bedroom pretty much 24/7, plus he had one of those emergency weather radio setups on top of the refrigerator that would sound a loud klaxon and alert you if there was a flood, thunderstorm, tornado watch. I finally persuaded him to kill the channel that warned of tidal surges (since we are miles from the coast or even the banks of the Potomac) but the whole thing rubbed off on me a bit, and these days I am hooked on the Capital Weather Gang blog and twitter feed.

Yesterday afternoon, after a week of crouching in hundred-degree heat (it was starting to feel normal; I clocked three hours trimming bushes on Saturday, dragging a water keg as I worked) we got socked. I hunted through three weather radars before I found one that would give me a decent image. It looked like a huge homicidal croissant bearing down on the DC area from the northwest. (Because of the Oak of Damocles, I obsessively check wind direction at times like this.)

The Weather Gang confirms that this evil parabola is called a bow radar echo, a weather form known for association with tornadoes and destructive gusts.

this kinda thing, only redder

The roughest part of it hit north of town. A lot of people are still waiting to get the power back on (so far this summer I’ve been pretty lucky on that count; the only power outage came out of a quiet night sky when some transformer south of me went tits-up for no obvious reason.) I just got a complete window washing and gutter integrity check.

What’s the nastiest kind of weather phenom in your area?


9 thoughts on “Not Cupid’s Bow

  1. Oh, we live right in tornado alley, so we see plenty of hook echoes, which apparently is weatherman-ese for the sort of storm formation that has a tornado in it.

    We have plenty of tornado watches and warnings, so far only a couple this week. I have never actually seen a tornado, but I have seen the black cloud that contained one before I went to the shelter.

    The other thing that is truly nasty that happens here is ice storms. Fortunately, we don’t have those every year, but I blogged about the one that hit us three years ago. Our power was off for several days, my folks’ power was out for 11 days and they camped out here where it was warm and there was water. Our elm trees have just now finally recovered from the “pruning” they received during that episode.

  2. Mild tornados but true hurricanes. Have been through the dead center of the eye of a class four and had four cross near a few years back. We get massive thunderstorms with horrendous microbursts in the summer, but they lead to the most beautiful sunsets; which almost makes up for it all.

  3. My part of California gets only the rarest and mildest of earthquakes. Barely even felt ’89.

    110F is quite bearable with low humidity.

    Wildfires aren’t allowed enough fuel to do much damage.

    Floods are for saturated flood plains and I’m not in one.

    Mudslides are for saturated hillsides with denuded vegetation and I’m not on one.

    Snow is a wondrous phenomenon of every few years. (Quite a different story an hour’s drive up the hill.)

    Hail is only slightly more prevalent and has small stones.

    In twenty years I’ve experienced exactly one day in which the temperature remained below freezing from morning to night.

    Rain is rain.

    High winds throw old trees onto parked cars once in awhile, but it seems to me every car is destined for wrecking one way or another.

    Dust devils are fairly common but don’t do any real harm.

    The famous Sunscreen Song has this line: “Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.” I’m not sure of the harm in going soft, but I was born here.

  4. In summer, we get severe wind storms and thunderstorms. Winds up to 90 km/hr, mild for the Carolinas, but up here in the St-Laurent/Richelieu plain with nothing to stop them they can be devastating. In winter, in a snowstorm, they blow snow and pack it against houses and build snowdrifts of up to 6 or 7 feet high. Of course blowing snow is blinding and the cause of many accidents.
    Lately with balmier winters we have been having more ice storms and they can be just as deadly. Wind and ice are our main sources of power outages, not frequent but most annoying especially in winter.
    The worst episode was in 1998 in early January. Four inches of ice on the power lines brought many down and caused a province wide blackout. Some regions were out of power, in isolated areas, for up to 8 weeks.

  5. Haven’t been here long enough for the hurricane shutters to need installing. Tropical storm Bonnie was just some rain and a bit of wind, didn’t do anything but slow my drive back from work and only a little.

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