Thursday, June 11, 2009

North Texas Storms vs West Texas Storms

Unfortunately, I've lived in Texas all my life. Except for a 3 month stint in Chicago and some equally short stints in Germany, I've always hung my hat in Texas.

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are standing outside with my dad and watching the storms roll in. West Texas is pretty much a desert so you can see for miles in any direction. I remember tales of watching a tornado hit Monahans from Kermit (about 20 miles away).

When you live in the desert, you can taste an approaching storm. The dry arid air takes on a wet almost sweet quality. The approaching storm moistens the air. In West Texas it also briefly kills the permeating oil smell.

Given that history, I have a fondness for thunderstorms. I can barely imagine living in a place where I don't look forward to the first thunderstorm of the year. Rolling thunder is like white noise that allows you to sleep peacefully.

Last night in the DFW zone, it was ridiculous! I stole the picture from Durango. He posted a series and made a video because when he can't sleep he blogs. Being spawned from the Pacific Northwest he probably doesn't have the same unbridled affection for thunderstorms that I do. Here is his video. Keep in mind that I live a short distance west of Lewisville and a little north of Hebron while listening to the television in the background. The recording actually starts a bit after the storm past over Flowr Mound.

It all started at about 6:30 PM. I was upstairs playing games on my computer when I decided that my computer speakers had acquired a defect. They were making some kind of whining cyclical pulsing sound. I paused the game. I looked under the desk. It was at this point that I realized the noise was coming from outside. The town of Flower Mound had their sirens at full volume.

I walked outside. In the DFW zones, you can't see the storm clouds approaching. There are too many buildings and trees. When I went outside last night, holding onto my Dos Equis Amber for comfort qualities, the tree tops immediately started swirling and the sky was taking on a greenish gray quality. This is never a good sign.

I went back inside and arranged my bean bags in my closet under the stairs. I found my little LED flashlight that is waterproof and you can wind it up for power. It's a handy little flashlight. It's very bright and I can wear it around my neck.

I turned on the TV and they had the weather tools in full force tracking this storm through Grapevine. Helicopters were in the air giving me live shots of the approaching storms. The weatherman was watching the video trying to point out potential funnel clouds. The last thing he said before the lights went out was, "There are flashes of light around the Grapevine Mills mall indicating electrical lines getting knocked out. This could either be from high winds or a possible tornado."

I went to my closet for 5 minutes.

When the electricity came back on, I turned back on the TV and they were saying that the front of the storm was approaching Coppell (our eastern neighbors). Flower Mound had survived the tornado producing clouds.

I went back upstairs and continued playing my game. The thunder continued to roll in its relaxing symphonic fashion. Fun was had by all.

I went to bed at about midnight. At 3 AM, the orchestra started practicing Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture complete with canons in my bedroom. No one can sleep though this. It all started with a lightning strike that exploded an oak tree across the street. If I remember I'll try and take a picture when I get home from work. It's kind of surreal.

By 5 AM the thunder had taken on a quieter symphony once more and I began to drift, but I had to get up and go to work at 8. The sounds of the rolling thunder at 5 was literally musical. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It's now just after 11 AM and another thunderstorm with 60 mile per hour wind just rolled through. Like I said, I enjoy Texas thunderstorms, but this is ridiculous!


  1. We got a bit of a storm early Wednesday morning, but it ended quickly. You're so right about a storm erasing the oil and gas smell...:)

  2. It sounds like you got the storm worse than I did, except I did have 2 direct hits in the middle of the night that felt like they were exploding this place. T-storms are rare in the PNW compared to here. I never saw jagged type lightning til I was in Texas. In WA the heavy cloud cover must makes for a glowing light show. I never experienced a direct strike up there. I've lost track of the number of them I've experienced here. I have been thru a Pacific typhoon with stronger winds than I've ever seen here. And the earthquakes here are puny little babies compared to the rock and rolling ground rides I've had up north.