Thursday, May 07, 2009

Front porch storm watching

Maybe it is a southern thing, but I have always enjoyed watching thunderstorms from the porches of our homes.

We have had a few homes without porches, but those have been in the minority. Perhaps my favorite storm watching porch before we moved to the coast was the one in Mt. Airy, NC where I spent my teenage years.

Our side porch there was protected but had a great view of the building storms that skirted the Blue Ridge Mountains. That former home is now a bed breakfast, Sobotta Manor, so you can book a stay and hope for a nice southern thunderstorm for some entertainment.

Thunderstorms sometimes break the heat in the south or at least provide some temporary relief. Sometimes they are damaging, but often they just bring welcome precipitation and some noise like they did today here on the Carolina coast.

Watching the power of thunderstorm is a humbling experience. I actually like North Carolina and Virginia thunderstorms much better than the ones we had in Canada. The Canadian ones were ill defined. They seemed to be all over the place. You could never really tell their direction.

Make no mistake, you can tell if a southern thunderstorm is headed for you. Most of them leave no doubt. Tonight's edition went south of us. We got to watch the fireworks without getting in the line of fire.

Still the strong breezes and lightning brought back many childhood memories of listening to the rumble of thunder in Mount Airy or Lewisville, NC. Storms in Roanoke, VA were a little different. Once they got in the mountain valley that is Roanoke, they could go in circles. Many times we saw the same storm more than once.

In the summer, thunderstorms are a regular occurrence here near the water. When we are fishing we try to have our boats back at the dock by three PM which is when the storms often fire up. With the flat territory, you can see them for miles.

I know the storms are to be respected. I had a cousin killed by lightning, but I like to think that if I am careful, the front porch makes a pretty good spot to watch a storm unless we are in the middle of it.