No, not the movie or the book but the real thing. A few days ago, Francisco emailed me and asked if I had any pictures of storms that I could send him. The answer is no because I keep forgetting to buy an USB cable to connect my camera to the computers at the various internet cafes I visit. I will definitely put it on my list for my next trip to the Wal-Mart in Tepic!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Does that mean that a thousand words are worth a picture? Well I won’t use nearly a thousand words (it may seem that way) but I will describe the storm that coincidentally occurred the same night I read that email.
Each evening I spend the last couple of hours of daylight out on the patio just sitting there looking at the view. To the north is the house; to the east is a mountain range; to the south is the village of Aticama and a beautiful coastline; and, to the west is the Pacific with great views of the peninsula where San Blas is located. This particular night as I glanced to the east, there were beautiful gray clouds working their way over the mountain range changing their configuration every few moments. To the west there were cumulous clouds floating all along the horizon that seemed to be preparing for a great sunset.
Now for the south. To the south there was an enormous very dark gray cloud extending from the mountain range far out over the ocean. The portion that extended over the ocean (maybe 5 miles) was releasing a torrential downpour so thick that it permitted no sign of light from the other side and the surface of the ocean reflected the incredibly dark gray of the huge cloud above.
Closer to the house there were 4 surfers enjoying some of the last waves of the day. It seems that the surf builds up in the afternoons and often is at its best just before sunset. All of a sudden as I watched the surfers taking off on the waves a lightning bolt shot out of the cloud and went straight down to the angry surface of the sea. Using the highly scientific method of one-one thousand, two-two thousand I was able to determine that the bolt was less than two miles away. The noise generated by the cold air slamming into the void created by the resulting hot air caused by the lightning was at first a loud crackle followed in seconds by a couple of loud booms. The surfers seemed to ignore it and continued as if nothing had happened.
You may have read my post about seeing 53 individual flashes of lightning in a minute. That was a completely different type of lightning and the tremendous bolts that struck this evening were only coming down at the rate of one or two per minute which to me made them spectacular. The normal wind in the evening comes in from the west but this night it was coming from the south pushing that huge cloud inexorably closer to mi casa every minute. In just a few minutes I could feel small drops coming down. Normally I wait until about 8:00 p.m. to head down to Dod for the night but this night I thought it might be better to go down a little earlier: about 6:00 p.m.
I was snuggled down in my bunk in Dod by 6:15 p.m. and it was just in time! As soon as I opened up my book and began reading the sky opened up. I am talking a downpour! My uncle from Texas used to describe this type of downpour as being “like a cow pissing on a flat rock”. Probably not the prettiest picture to envision but a very good descriptive phrase for this particular storm. Within a hour the winds started. I would guess that the winds were blowing steadily at 40 mph with gusts above 50 mph. I have never been in a hurricane and I don’t really think I want to experience one.
In the morning the rain gauge showed that we received over 3 inches of rain during a storm that lasted just under 4 hours. Unfortunately the road up to the house concurred with the rain gauge and with considerable damage from runoff. The dawn brought a beautiful sunrise and reaffirmation of why I love living here.