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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Purple Rain

Storm Ahead

Lightning Show in Tucson

July and August is monsoon season in southern Arizona with dark indigo purple thunder clouds and lightning forming almost every afternoon. Thunder rumbling, brilliant flashes of lightning, then powerful torrential downpours that can flood areas in minutes, at times causing flash floods that have stranded many a motorist who insist on driving through.

Sometimes it's a big buildup and then just enough rain sprinkles the ground to make the pavement steam - a rain teaser.

Other afternoons, like last week it comes down so heavy and hard that the parked cars outside of the supermarket (where I was stranded) are barely visible in the grey curtain of heavy downpour. But typical monsoon style, it ended after about 10 minutes of fascinated observation by everyone who decided to wait it out inside and respectfully watch the storm.
Like many, I had decided to wait out the violent, heavy downpour with the winds whipping the rain sideways. Of course there are always the brave souls who walk in (or out) soaked, squishing onto the soggy token carpet at the entry. 

Observers, like myself, burst out laughing at one lady who squished in, drenched, raccoon eyed from melted make up, with her straw hat clinging limply to her head and announcing "it's only water, you won't melt!".  It was one of those memorable Gary Larson, The Far Side moments.

O.k., so she doesn't mind squelching through the store in puddles and soaking the seat of her car when she leaves, (she wasn't going to let a little rain stop her) but the rest of us did mind and were willing to wait out the 10 minutes or so, taking the opportunity to chat with each other as we watched the parking lot fill with water, the shopping carts getting pushed around by the wind and torrents of rain. When it slowed to a light sprinkle, we all splashed to our cars. Soaked shoes, mild wet, o.k. - soaked clothes in high wind and sideways rain - no thanks (given the choice...). 

Short, heavy outbursts laced with spectacular lightning shows are what the monsoons are about - then the sweet, clean, cooler air, birds chirping, and often spectacular sunsets. 

One birdie wasn't chirping though - the one I found on my driveway when I returned. Poor thing had been blown out of the tree in the high winds and lay, feet up, in the center of the drive. I did the plastic bag shuffle, scooping it up and disposing it in the overgrown wash where it would make a meal for some critter - recycling.

No matter how many times I have seen the heavy rains/lightning, each time is new as I stare in fascinated wonder at the raw power and beauty of nature (from a sheltered place- like a car or store).

**I did not take any of the pictures in this post. They are from images under Tucson Monsoon.
What not to do when it floods

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