Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T - is for Thunder Storms and Rescue Missions

I love big weather events. The most common weather event on the East Coast of the USA are thunder storms. We can count on several in the fall and spring, and sometimes even in the summer. This year we even had a snow thunder storm.

The bigger and louder the better. I love to stand by the window and just take it in. It is a reminder that we live on an ever changing planet with its own agenda. Humans sometimes forget in the small busyness of their individual lives that our Earth is still changing and developing - in very big ways - not necessarily all the time, but when it does show its muscle with dramatic weather, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes ... all other human events are temporarily stopped and we pay attention to our earth.

One night a big, big thunderstorm had descended on our community. I was enjoying the sound and noise of it all when a lightening strike landed right behind our town home. The boom was enormous. The light created was almost blinding. It startled us in its massiveness. And then the unexpected happened. Our neighbor's alarm system became activated and the horn started its very loud wailing.

Now our neighbors at the time were renters - a single woman and her young son. We thought the alarm system had been disabled by the owners when they moved out. We were friends with the owners, and I knew how to disarm their system. We also knew the horn would blow for 6 minutes, then turn off. That is what we knew. What we didn't know - was what the renters knew!!

So we waited and waited. The alarm horn was almost as loud as the storm and the horn wasn't even in our house. The lightening kept flashing. It was a long 6 minutes for us. And when the horn didn't stop after 6 minutes, we got concerned. We waited another 5 minutes wondering what we should do. That horn kept going (and so did the storm).

So my son and I suited up and went next store. From door to door, it is about 30 feet. We knocked. Nothing. We could see lights. We knocked louder. Nothing. We banged ... finally they could hear us and opened the door. We were two drowned rats, but I remember that our neighbors were sure glad to see us. They knew nothing about alarms.

So I confidently approached the key pad and used the code. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing, again. The horn was deafening. The system was fried! Non-responsive, but very very loud. We went downstairs to the control box - opened it up. Lots of wires. It wasn't clear which one of the wires controled the horn, so started pulling all the wires. Finally the horn went silent. The storm continued, but it was such a relief to get that horn off that we forgot about the storm. To keep the wires from accidentally touching, we all chewed some gum and put bits of gum on the loose ends (my son's idea - he was about 16 at the time.)

This is the closest I ever got to a "rescue mission in a storm". It wouldn't make the national news but we made a difference to two very upset people.

I feel I need to close with a video of a really big storm I found on You Tube. It occurred in South Dakota in July of 2010. This storm just looked plain scary - like something out of a movie. I have never seen anything like it. (I sure would love to!)

Check it out. You won't be sorry.


  1. I too am fascinated by big weather events...however...I have no desire to be caught in the middle of one.

  2. Extreme weather is fascinating! Living on top of a mountain we get some good views. I love seeing a summer rain sweep up the valley to the top of our hill.

  3. I too love storms. That YouTube storm picture is fascinating. How cool to be so close to it and not get hurt. Wow what a huge hailstone. It looks like a lot of them stuck together.

  4. great story and great video, Elaine!:)

    i'm always shooting photos of the storms coming across the valley. fact is i'd rather take photos of storms and fog above anything else!

  5. btw...that's an awful hail boulder!


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