Wicked weather

July-23-supercell-03
Image by Dakiraun via Flickr

You gotta love Canadian weather. One minute you’re experiencing a heat wave, the next it’s all earthquakes and tornadoes. Well, I don’t think earthquakes, like the one we experienced the other day, are the norm around here but ’tis the season for tornadoes.
Keeping an eye on the forecast is essential so you know what to prepare for. Yesterday we had a Tornado Watch in place as the incoming storm cells had the potential for cloud rotation. Once rotation is confirmed, the Tornado Watch gets upgraded to a Tornado Warning, then you need to be vigilant in case it’s heading your way. A tornado left the town of Goderich in tatters just the other day.
This is when basements really come into their own. They are the safest place to gather your family, while the tornado passes overhead, putting out windows and ripping off roofs. Nothing like some rough weather to make you appreciate the warm, snug confines of your home and being together with those who mean the most to you.

I LOVE a good storm and I’ve definitely come to the right place!

We think we have storms in Britain but those pale in comparison to what we have going on here. The first sign of the drama to come (if you haven’t checked the forecast) is the sudden darkness as the sky turns an overbearing gun-metal grey. The birds and cicadas fall silent. Out of the eerie stillness, the wind picks up. And then, there’s a sound like someone pushing something heavy across uneven ground. You wonder briefly if one of your neighbours has ordered a skip. Then you realise it’s the sound of thunder.

Once the thunder begins it is deafening, rolling around above our heads, going from ominous roaring rumblings to ear-splitting cracks, just like you see in the horror flicks. It is so loud, the vibrations cause the house to shake! T, of course, sleeps through it, as does S. J is a little scared but a few drops of lavender oil on her pillow sorts out her nerves and soon she’s snoozing like the other two. K & I make the most of the atmosphere, dim the lights, and watch “Fright Night“, but the view from the window is more compelling than what’s onscreen.

The heavens open and the deluge begins, turning roads to rivers in minutes and causing temporary blindness to anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle. The streetlights blink out, return, blink out, return – the same thing happens with the power in the house. The trees bend in the wind and a roaring white noise fills our ears. Obviously being the nutters that we are, we have the window open to fully appreciate the storm.

The light show continues unabated for a good forty-five minutes or more, lighting the landscape up in flashes of daylight brilliance. It flickers on and off, as though someone’s playing with a celestial light switch, illuminating the clouds and ripping across the sky like cracks snaking through glass. In fact, it’s still going when we go to bed after the film has finished, though by then it’s intermittent, like a loose connection somewhere in the clouds.

The powerful gusts sweep off elsewhere and the rain eases to just the wetting kind as opposed to the drowning variety. There’ll be no tornado here tonight. A possum sidles up the road, damp and disheveled. The storm has passed. Someone else is enjoying it now.

By Aisha Ashraf

Aisha Ashraf is a nomadic Irish writer of creative non-fiction and poetry, currently based on the traditional territory of the Anishinabewaki, Haudenosaunee, and Mississauga First Nations, in Ontario, Canada. Her work has been published in River Teeth, The Huffington Post, and the UK’s Independent and Daily Telegraph newspapers.

7 comments

    1. Thanks Maria! Appreciate the comment. Been wishing lately I had Miss Hemmingway, Mrs Huntzinger or Bill Branson to give me some feedback on my writing. I really love the raw power of the storms, so exhilarating and energising, just had to try and convey that 🙂

  1. I love a good storm but if there is a tornado warning please go to your basement and watch the television. Either way, don’t stay near the open window, even with lightening you can still get hit. We had a tornado here in my neck of the woods a few years ago, it was around the block where I grew up, and it devastated a school and many of the houses in the area.

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