Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer storm on the mountain

Our internet is back up, after a sudden lightning storm.  Here's what that's like, up here on the mountain:

The storm blew in quickly.  Bright skies suddenly turned gray, then black.  Rain began to patter down, and thunder rumbled up the mountain from the east.

Then the rain went berserk, a ruthless calamity of drumming, rattling, hissing, pinging.  Lightning leaped into being with it, striking crazily all over the mountain, flashing through mist.  Our community internet went off right away, and our satellite backup fell down as well.  I imagined I could see lightning flashes through my closed eyelids.

Thunder rolled and rolled, back and forth, like a giant ball bearing hurtling along the mountaintop, swelling and dwindling in volume.  It was a mutter, then a titanic roar, then a bemused snarl.

The rain kept coming down in full elemental ferocity, thickening the air into a fog laced with diagonal striations.  Then the rain built rapidly to hail strength, making every tiny bit of metal rattle from the car to the tin-covered woodpiles to our fine new roof, beating the hell out of leaves and branches. Our plants shuddered and flickered in the storm, gradually starting to bend down toward the soaking earth.

Inside, the cats were terrified.  Hunter meowed a deep, ecstatic, nearly lupine howl, again and again, stalking from room to room, before fleesing to hide in a pile of clothes.  The dog paced back and forth, both wanting to offer and receive succor.

We unplugged vital electronics (laptop, phones), in case an especially ambitious lightning strike blew past our surge protectors.  The UPS unit gleamed, clicked quietly a few times. I snarled to see most of my work cut off.  The children shrugged grimly, switching to offline digital pursuits while the power held.

Community broadband and satellite backup down: without internet we were cut off from the world of news.  We have no tv, and radio reception is vile, so we were thrust back upon land line telephone and Ceredwyn's emergency services radio to find out anything.  Said radio crackled with reports of problems across several towns.

Water pooled outside, then clawed its way in: a single pipe running from roof to basement began sweating, then dripping.  I opened the back door to see puddles standing amid rocks and soil, twitching and growing in the torrent.

Gradually it passed.  The rain steadily reduced its volume.  Thunder stalked west and down that side of the mountain, still audible as distant booming on the way to New Hampshire.  Lightning stopped.  The satellite internet resumed, and I can type this blog post.

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