Stormy Weather


I love storms.

And not just the regular run-of-the-mill thunderstorms.  But the SEVERE kind…that only happen a few months of the year    The kind that Weather Network warns you about…the kind that spawn microbursts, funnel clouds and tornado warnings.

I love how these storms are spawned on those days that are stinking hot…”stupid hot”, I call it.   Where its’ stifling, miserable, and you can cut the humidity with a knife.  Where being outside is just damned stupid

I love how,  at the peak of daytime heat, a subtle haze starts to form.   And puffy clouds start to appear, and a hot wind blows.

I love how, even if the sun is still out, you can hear a rumble in the distance, like artillery.   So low, it’s almost at the threshold of your hearing, where you almost feel it before you actually hear it.  

And that’s when you know that the storm will probably be a decent one.  

I love how the sun slowly gets dimmed by the clouds, and the rumbles get louder and louder…and the clouds start to organize themselves and get darker.  But it’s still stinking hot…and you know something is up. 

I love how you see cloud formations start to form…billowing,  churning, nasty…forming into columns and anvils and mushroom and other shapes that “ain’t quite right”.    

And you wonder just how bad it’s gonna get.


I love those surreal pre-storm moments, where the car headlights come on in the middle of the day, and the birds stop chirping, and the dog retreats to the basement with their tail between their legs. 

I love how the air crackles with energy, how the barometric pressure and temperature plummet.   

I love that sinking feeling of dread in you get in your stomach, coupled with that feeling of exhiliration…because you know that soon, all  hell’s gonna break loose.

I think it’s at this moment of anticipation, just before the storm, that I like the best.   

My senses are at their keenest, and I’ve never felt more alive.    I want to run to a mountain top, challenge the Gods, and scream profanities at them.   At moments like this, I feel I can take on the WORLD.

But the ultimate for me would be to see a tornado.    

They don’t happen very often in the area of Canada where I live, but they do happen.   And on the rare occasions we get a tornado watch,  I’ll make a special effort to go out and watch the storm.  And chase it, it time permits.  

First tornado watch I remember as an adult was 23 years ago.  My sister and I walked down the road to watch for it, and I took photos with my cheapo Kokak camera.   And Dad gave us shit.

There was another tornado watch seven years ago, where I distinctly remember,  for the first time, being a little frightened.   

Though fortunately (or unfortunately),  I’ve never managed to see a tornado.

Oh, I’ve been close, though.   

Once I was stranded in the woods in a violent storm.   The wind made a weird sound like a freight train and there was an unconfirmed report  funnel cloud in the area.     

Other times, there have been confirmed tornado reports within tens of km of where I’d been….yet  I ALWAYS seem to miss seeing them.  

Like during the 9-year period I lived in Hamilton, Ontario.  The  two times  a tornado within the city limits, which happened to coincide with the times I was out of town on vacation.   (I swear, it’s  almost a conspiracy…)

Though several people have lectured me:  “Believe me Friar, you do NOT want to see a tornado!”

Oh..but I DO. 

And I’ve been known to drive several hours chasing storms to find them. (Not that I have the faintest clue what I’m doing, though)

But I don’t need death and destruction.   I’d be perfectly happy with a tornado touching down in the field next to me, destroying an abandoned barn, and  nobody gets hurts. 

Is that too much to ask?


But until that happens, I will not die happy.

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8 Comments on “Stormy Weather”

  1. Hi Friar,

    I LOVED this story. Your writing had me captivated right from the beginning. Great job!

    I also love storms but don’t desire seeing a tornado. I remember last summer when we had a slow moving lightening storm pass over us. I sat looking out the window in awe of the force of Mother Nature. Although our dog was shaking and cowering under the table, I hated to see it end. Unfortunately it was mid summer and caused a few fires. That was the part I didn’t like…

    P.S. Great shots of the clouds.

  2. Friar's Mom Says:

    @ All,

    The topic of Friar’s post doesn’t surprise me. Friar has always lived dangerously.

    My husband and I were trailering our way out West on a summer vacation. We left our grown children unsupervised.

    Back home, there was a severe thunderstorm brewing. Friar and his best friend decided to climb a ladder and settle themselves on the garage roof for a better vantage point of the upcoming July thunderstorm. A neighbour across the street noticed the folly of these grown young men and told them to get off the roof.

    Sheepishly they got off the roof but chose to stand inside the garage. They left the garage door opened to better watch nature in all its fury. The deluge poured from the ominous sky, and the wind forced sheets of rain into the garage. No doubt, Friar and his buddy were ooing and aahing.

    In a single moment, there was a flash of lightening instantly accompanied by a loud clap of thunder. His buddy, standing barefoot on the wet garage floor, involuntarily jumped up into the air.

    When we called the next day to see how the family was doing, they said lightening struck near the back yard. It melted the clothes dryer panel, and destroyed the phone and TV cable.

    It wasn’t until we returned home weeks later that we were told about their near mishap and how his friend suffered a headache for two days.

  3. dave1949 Says:

    @ Friar’s Mom, Life, especially for boys isn’t ny fun without a few near misses.After all Ben Franklin was out flying kites in storms just to see what he could learn too. Friar might one day be just as revered as old Ben.

  4. XUP Says:

    I was in the blizzard of ’77 in southern Ontario (White Death — look it up) and I dun bin in a hurry-cane. I think the hurry-cane was the biggest storm I was ever in. The during and the right after were way, way cool. But after about 3 days of no electricity and a dozen giant maple trees blocking the road and the navy milling about doing clear-up, it got kind of tiresome and annoying and horrible and it stayed that way for more than 10 days. So if the storm doesn’t actually wreck your house or fling your $60,000 boat down the block or mess up your life for weeks or kill anyone, then ya, it’s a lot of fun.

  5. XUP Says:

    Not that I had a $60,000 boat — that was the neighbour.

  6. Kyddryn Says:

    C’mon down to Casa de Crazy during the summer…we get plenty of tornadoes in the area, although generally speaking they pass me by. I’ve had several pass right overhead on their way somewhere else, and one or two take a left turn up the street. They won’t hit where I live, though…they always go another way.

    I’ve been thinking about going to Arkansas or Oklahoma and chasing for a season…there’s something delicious about the wild winds, the driven rain, the chaos of it all…

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (who has seen tornadoes at sea, been to the beach in a hurricane, and likes dancing in the rain during a good storm)

  7. seestor Says:

    Are all those photos yours, brother Fry? The lakes are absolutely raging on some of them. V cool pics

    Great post.

    Mother Nature can be a b*%!h at times. Like when I plant grass seed and she holds back the rain. That’s just plain mean of her.

    Are the fireflies out in your area? I like them. I remember having one in my bedroom one night. Hee hee. I turned out the lights, lay down and watched the little guy flicker around my room.

    Eyeteaguy … I said “bedroom”. ;o)


  8. Friar Says:


    Thanks…though I think storms are so interesting, the story writes itself.

    Dogs are such chickeshit when it comes to thunder. Ask my sister about her dog running away last year…for three weeks!

    @Friar’s Mom
    That was one of the top five BEST thunderstorms I ever saw.

    Our house was right in the middle of some kind of vortex. The grass and leaves were all beaten down and blown in one direction in the front yard…and the total opposite direction in the back yard.

    Maybe a funnel cloud passed over without us realizing it.

    The was during my “Darwin Years” (Between Ages 16 and 25).

    I’ve calmed down since then….somewhat….

    I never head about the White Death. Though at the time we lived in Montreal, and Southern Ontario was considered a foreign country.

    If I had infinite vacation, that’s what I’d do too. But fishing and skiing take priority…

    I’ve driven across the Great Plains 3-4 times. The worst storm I saw was the one in the top photo (near Gillette Wyoming). No extreme weather…but it was quite scenic.

    Yep..they’re all my photos.

    The bottom two are close to where you live. But those were taken back in 2003.

    No fire flies yet. But we got these nasty No-see-um bugs that come out in the evening. Smaller than blackflies, but they bite and itch like crazy, till you scratch till you bleed.

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