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Thunderstorms? In MY Portland?

This weather gadget on my computer predicts thunderstorms for tomorrow. And while I don't doubt there will be a downpour, seeing as we've had a few lately, I highly doubt thunderstorms. I've been living here in Portland for almost 4 years now, and while it rains fairly constantly during the winter, parts of spring, and parts of autumn, it almost never makes lightning or thunder. In those entire almost-four years I've lived here, I have only heard thunder in Portland on maybe three different days, and there wasn't much thunder even then. So thunderstorms would be interesting, from a purely "oh, how novel" stance. But even if one shows up, I doubt it will be very impressive.

Now, if you want to see a REAL thunderstorm, go to Iowa. They're rare, because the air in Iowa likes to soak up as much moisture as it can for weeks, even months, at a time before finally letting it all go in one enormous storm. But when it rains in Iowa, it's almost always a thunderstorm. As in raging, howling winds, clouds that turn day into a night so dark you'll be lucky to see your hand in front of your face, several dozen or more powerful cracks of lightning that turn the darkness briefly back into daylight, deafening booms of thunder that shake the room, and a downpour you could drown in even before the flooding starts. Also, you sometimes get huge chunks of ice falling with the rain that make you worry one of them will break your car's windshield and leave massive dents in your car. Iowa thunderstorms are almighty and terrifying to behold. Portland thunderstorms, so far, are wimpy to the point of being laughable. I remember my first Portland thunderstorm. I saw some distant lightning and heard wimpy thunder. It was a little windy, but the winds of Iowa thunderstorms would have beat the tar out of that wind and stolen its lunch money, all without breaking a sweat.

Iowa thunderstorms: you see one forming and you turn your computer off and unplug it, even if it has a surge protector, and you stay off the landline phones, because the thunderstorm WILL find you or your computer and fry one or both the first chance it gets. Portland thunderstorms, you could dance in an aluminum suit on the roof, holding a lightning rod that was plugged into your suit, and I doubt anything would happen to you. I don't advise it, and I don't advise mocking Murphy's Law in one's behavior, but seriously, Portland thunderstorms are wimps, the ones I've seen anyway. And even when they get a little fire in them, so to speak, it only lasts a few minutes, whereas Iowa thunderstorms almost never last less than an hour.

Iowa thunderstorms: those bastards can turn into tornadoes, which are like a speeding locomotive's worst nightmare, a goddamn Land Hurricane, Katrina in cornfields slamming against small towns like a bullet train running over a Chihuahua puppy. Portland thunderstorms: might scare small children and excitable pets. Possibly.

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 18th, 2011 06:54 am (UTC)
I want to move to Portland :)

It's tornado SEASON here. We get 2 tornado seasons a year lol. It's terrible and so scary. I hate it.

Mar. 18th, 2011 06:56 am (UTC)
A tornado once jumped right over our house, in Iowa, and Mom was the only one who knew, because she recognized the sound. She didn't tell us until the next day.
Mar. 18th, 2011 08:56 am (UTC)
We get tornados here too. Just not as many or as big. The one that hit Vancouver, WA (just across the Columbia from Portland) back in the 60s was thought to be an aberration.

Then came widespread doppler weather radar and they discovered that we have several a year (the radar signature is *very* distinctive).

It's just that they are usually fairly small and often don't touch down.

Last summer/fall we had one that seriously messed up a small town in the area. And there's been a recent news item about how the insurance companies were dragging their feet on paying off.

Mar. 18th, 2011 08:52 am (UTC)
Fay, we've been having thunderstorms every other day or so for a week.

It's just that they are very localized. Small cells embedded in the overall storm rather than the huge cells you get in the Midwest.

For example, Wednesday, they got 3/4 hail in one of the suburbs.

Just because you don't see lightning where you are or get hail there doesn't mean that some other part of the metro area isn't getting pounded.

This is what you miss by not watching the news.
Mar. 18th, 2011 09:03 am (UTC)
Fay, we've been having thunderstorms every other day or so for a week.

It's just that they are very localized. Small cells embedded in the overall storm rather than the huge cells you get in the Midwest.

You've just proved my point. Portland thunderstorms are wimpy to the point of laughability.
Mar. 18th, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)
Anything that can generate tornados isn't wimpy.

There's a reason they call those monsters in the Midwest *super*-cells.

You are used to the over-achievers of the thunderstorm world.
Mar. 18th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
ah, ok
Mar. 19th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC)
You should see the thunderstorms we get here in Texas. As big as the ones in the Midwest but more frequent.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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