The Bad Storm

July 2, 2011 Comments Off on The Bad Storm

Is it lame that I feel totally bad-ass just for having been driven through a terrifying storm? I mean, I didn’t really do much—although, truth be told, my assistance in spotting downed trees on the roadway was invaluable—but I still feel like a hero.

You may or may not have been aware of the enormous thunderstorms that spread across the Midwest last night. Mom, Derek, and I, driving up from Madison to Duluth, were not. Until at some point we noticed the gargantuan storm cloud stretching away to our left. It was cool-looking: pinkish grey with a terraced underside and a sinister snout like a hell-hound. But at some point the road turned, and we found the sinister cloud poised to cross the road. It was very low and moving incredibly fast, like an animated smoke monster. Beneath it was a curtain of rain that, when it hit, made snapping, pounding noises against the windshield. Suddenly there was howling wind blasting through the trees, tearing branches off and flinging them into the road, and it was difficult to keep the car on course. The rain was so thick visibility was sometimes reduced to less than a quarter-mile. A pick-up truck with a trailer was driving in front of us as we reached a bare stretch of road whose lack of surrounding vegetation meant no wind cover, and the wind caught the trailer, ripped it off the truck, and rolled it off the road down into a field. It was rolling like something empty, so I hope it was. (“Damaging winds in excess of 80 miles per hour…”) Bright pink lightning lit up the sky in long chains, and somehow that was even worse than the wind. The radio reported a tornado warning for southern Douglas County, and I was happy we were driving north; I thought we were getting out of range until, 20 minutes into the tornado warning, we passed a sign announcing that we had just crossed into Douglas County. Great.

This lasted for perhaps an hour, and finally the wind began to taper off. It was still raining as we drove into Superior, and one section of the highway was covered with at least six inches of water, but thankfully the forecast quarter-sized hail never materialized, and the wind was down by the time we had to cross the high bridge into Duluth. We made it, in case you can’t tell.

I continue to think that I function well in disasterish situations, and it was really exciting, especially in retrospect. Nature is awesome. In the old sense of the word. I think especially now she keeps poking us, just to remind us that she’s still around and can, at will, wipe out any human construction. Don’t push me, she warns. It was a terrible drive, but it’s always cool to witness power like that. In conclusion: I am alive. And in Duluth.

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