Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Weather Lesson, Taught by Iowa

A couple of days ago we were standing in the backyard, watching a storm come in:

Kind of amazing, isn't it?

Storms in Iowa don't mess around. The storms that we're used to seeing in California are pretty lazy in comparison. I've learned a lot about storm personalities since moving to Iowa.

California Storm: It doesn't really roll in, it's just kind of there when you wake up in the morning. It's kind of cloudy and kind of rainy. And maybe a little cold. Like 50 degrees. Because it's probably the dead of winter. It's the same 50 degrees that used to send me scurrying to get my slipper socks. And a blanket and a chip clip. To make a slanket. You got something to say?

Iowa Storm: Runs in with its arms open wide like it's the baddest mf-er in all the land. Yelling, "Waz up, Bitches!" and covers the entire blue sky with dark clouds in 2 minutes flat. Seriously. And it doesn't care if it's winter or not. Winter, summer, it's all pretty much the same amount of suffering. Stifling heat. Freezing cold. And no, I don't think 50 is freezing cold anymore. Iowa winters have cured me of that. Especially ones like this:

Do you see what we suffer through here? Okay, really I took that picture two days ago. When it was 80. I totally made James turn the car around when I saw that sign so that I could take a picture of it and you would feel sorry for me. But it really does feel that cold in the winter here. I mean it!


I love our summer storms. I love that it can be hot and raining. I love that the lightning is sometimes so continuous that it's like a strobe light. I love that the thunder can be so loud that it shakes the house like an earthquake. I love that I have a basement because of these storms. I don't love that sometimes the storms bring tornadoes and destruction, of course, but I do appreciate their strength. The rain and wind and hail and more wind. And the ability for them to change the temperature from 80 to 60 in a matter of minutes. It's all so amazing.

Peyton used to love these storms. He knows how to turn on the emergency weather radio when it beeps to warn us of a storm. He knows how to click on the online weather maps on the computer. He knows that a yellow box over an area means a thunderstorm watch and a red box means a tornado watch. Like this (taken just a few minutes ago):

Peyton used to love it. But sometime after he and James started watching Storm Chasers things changed. Now every little thing he sees in the sky worries him because it must be a tornado.

So as we're watching the storm come in, Peyton looks across the street, through the trees and houses, and asks, in a fearful voice, "Is that a tornado?" And James and I both answer, "No," before/as we turn around to see what he's looking at.

Do you see what he was looking at? Let me give you a close-up:

Technically, no matter what, we're right. Because a tornado isn't a tornado until it touches the ground. Before that, it's just a funnel cloud. See, you learn all sorts of stuff living in Iowa.

And really, it was probably just the way one cloud was angled as it covered up another cloud. Maybe? I'm not sure. We didn't hear anything about a tornado the next day. But it is interesting. Iowa weather is always interesting.

And here's what the sky looked like the next morning:

Neat, huh?

We're moving back to California in a about a week. I will miss a lot about Iowa. Summer storms are way up on that list.


Midwestern Gone Idahoan said...

I loved the storms in Iowa!!! I agree about the temp change!! HOLY COW!!! We lived in Iowa for 14 years and then off to Indiana - I took my hubby back there to visit and he couldn't believe the storms!!! I LOVE how they shake the whole house!!! You are NOT kidden when you say that!! Have fun in Iowa for the little bit longer that you are there!!

4kidsgrandma said...

I know you'll miss the tornadoes and floods and ice storms and blizzards, but your family in California is sooooooooo happy and excited that you are moving home! (Back to California's four seasons--fires, floods, mud and riots.)

Paula said...

Girl, I love your sense of humor...they way you described the Iowa storms...LOL! I love storms too, although they are rarely ferocious here in Florida. My 6-year-old is obsessed with Storm Chasers too! :)

Megan said...

I grew up in Iowa....ahhh...memories.

Where did you live in Iowa?


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