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The Storm

A Three Stage Process

Tonight a storm came. We’re still in the desert so storms can be a big problem. Out here washes are on the maps, not creeks. For those unfamiliar, washes are like creeks that only flow seasonally or when flash floods occur after thunderstorm. While we’re not in a slot canyon, we are on a dirt road, a road that “may become impassable due to weather.” The road is like sand and any bit of moisture may turn it into thick mud. We have somewhere to be early tomorrow; I have absolutely no desire to get stuck here.

Tonight’s storm was challenging. Virga was sporadic and surrounded us on three sides, with moisture occasionally touching ground. The storm cells were scattered and difficult to read. As time passed, the moisture touched down on two sides of us, yet not a single drop on us, yet.

Flashes of lightning also accompanied the moisture in the distance. The thundered roared as it got closer – then trailed away – then came closer again. It seemed inevitable that moisture would come. While the rainfall didn’t seem like much, with cells growing and shrinking anything was possible. To the west the cells continued to grow larger, but sunlight was visible through the storm.

The front finally reached us. The wind hit the van like a freight train and the car shook as rain and dust slammed against the car. The rain didn’t last long thankfully and passed as quickly as it had arrived. The wind persisted, continuing to pick up dust before eventually retreating. To the east, a full double rainbow formed, showing the graceful side of the gods. The rain tapered to virga just as the sun began to set. The dark clouds turned from black to pink, and the stretches of virga began to glow.

In the end this was more of a battle of taking photographs and eating. The duration of the storm occurred during dinner time, but the sights of this system were worth observing. Three unique and priceless scenes were presented: Before the storm arrived, the rain in the distance clouded the light shining on the distant mountains and canyons. When the storm passed, the double rainbow showed the storms more gentle side. Then the sunset, which painted the storm clouds, added a pink glow to the light, illuminating the ground below.

Times like these, dinner can wait until the pen stops writing.

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