Friday, July 24, 2009
Lots and lots of rain
Thursday was quite the day here at Roundtop. I spent most of the day leading groups of kids down through the woods, where they caught frogs, avoided a nest of wild bees, nibbled wild berries and looked at various ferns and mushrooms and whatever else I could find that I thought might interest them. The day was overcast, threatening storms through most of it. The humidity was high, and the day felt pretty tropical. I was relieved it wasn’t 90 degrees the way it was last Thursday, though 80 degrees and humid feels hot enough.
On the way back to camp on the last hike of the day, I heard the sound of very distant thunder. The kids and I were about halfway back to camp. I kept an ear out for it. I noticed that it didn’t seem to get much closer, though I did hurry the kids along a bit just in case. We made it back without incident, and I got back to the cabin and took a quick shower. The sky was darkening by the minute, and the storm was edging closer.
At this point, I already knew that the storm was moving slowly—always a bad sign. When a storm approaches slowly, it means when it finally reaches me, it also takes a long time for it to move away. As humid as the day was, I knew this would likely translate into a lot of rain.
And boy, did I get a lot. Nearly 4 inches of rain fell in an hour. I can’t remember the last time it rained that hard for that length of time. Usually downpours that heavy are brief, lasting just a few minutes. Not this time. The official total was 3.76 inches. I can tell you that my 4" rain gauge overflowed, though I hadn’t dumped it from the day before when I had perhaps an inch of rain. And the storm wasn’t just over my cabin.
Flash floods were reported in many locations, necessitating many rescues from both cars and homes. Roads were closed. Roads were washed away. I was holed up in the cabin, and didn’t see the reality (except on TV) until this morning. My morning commute was a weaving dodge around sawhorses marking areas where the road was washed away—in some cases feet deep. Brown mud covered the macadam wherever water had raced across low areas. It was a mess. Whew! I just hope that’s done for a while. A storm like that every once in a very long while is more than enough.