I’ve seen some comments lately, both in the press and among my friends, to the effect that these last few weeks seem like the prelude to an apocalypse. Or maybe that we’re already in the midst of one. From my reading, I see that in the world last week, there were volcano eruptions, swarms of locusts, and an out-of-control fire at Chernobyl. Those occurrences, added to the pandemic and resulting economic crash, make for an alarming prospect.
But before I heard about the volcano and the locusts, the weather was giving me pause. A couple weeks ago, we had the most freaky rainstorm I can remember. It’s a bit odd to have violent thunderstorms in northern Ohio at the end of March, and we had one that went on literally for hours, from midnight until daylight, releasing dense curtains of rain. Our backyard flooded like never before.
One night last week was set for a repeat. The temperature actually climbed after dark, and by the time the late news was over, the boomers had started. It was warm enough for me to sit on the porch–in a T-shirt–and watch the storm, something I’ve loved to do since my dad initiated me more than five decades ago. The really strange thing was that there was absolutely no wind, not a breath of air stirring. Just tumults of rain pouring down. This time, though, the deluge only lasted a couple hours, and then afterward, the temperature began a nosedive. By dawn, the wind had come up, and it roared for most of the day. Early on, the sun was bright, but in the space of a couple hours, the mercury dropped even further, the clouds came in, and snowflakes began to drift down. I had to stand and watch for a few minutes to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. Nope, big fluffy flakes, making a tracery on the deck. Half an hour later, the sun was blazing again. The wind continued, and sometime mid-afternoon, I heard clicking on the sliding door to the deck. I looked out, and was stunned to see pea-sized hail pelting down. The deck was completely covered, as if more snow was falling. My husband said that where he was, east and south of the city, it actually was snowing again. After half an hour, the hail gave way to more sunshine, and the rest of the day alternated between sun and clouds, with a slight temperature rise.
I can’t say for sure that I’ve never witnessed a thunderstorm, snow, and hail, in that order, in the space of 15 hours, accompanied by rollercoaster temperatures and wind, but if I have, I don’t recall such a bizarre string of weather events. Since that time last week, we’ve had a consistent clouds/sun/clouds sequence, at ten-to-twenty-minute intervals. At the moment, it’s snowing. On Tax Day. In Cleveland. Lucky us: our neighbors to the northwest, in Chicago, are having a white-out, while even farther north, areas in Minnesota had ten inches of snow for Easter. But they’re used to it.
Certainly, my weather observations are anecdotal. They don’t span a period of time and they don’t provide multiple data points. Still….if what I’m seeing is any indication, the health crisis may not be the only unprecedented situation we’ll be facing in the near future.