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Freakish Weather

Hey y’alls, I apologize to all who received SPAM email from my account. Seems some program hacked into my system, hijacked my address book and sent a notification for cialis and viagra. I changed my password and it shouldn't happen again. There are a few things I've been meaning to write about but work and other things have prevented timely email updates. Here's something that you might enjoy and it's a relatively recent occurrence here. Expect another update soon - I'm almost finished with it. Warning, it'll be a long one, but an interesting read. Well, it's interesting to me at least.

Take care my friends,

Freakish weather

We’ve had some really freakish weather recently, which I’ve never experienced anywhere before in my life. One of our interpreters has worked here over 2.5 years and says he’s never seen anything like it. I think it’s related to our geography. My base is located in a “bowl” if you will – similar to Denver, but much smaller. We are surrounded by relatively high mountains which have a great affect on local weather patterns. Well, over the course of the past two weeks, right near the end of the day- at approximately 5pm and extending past sunset we’ve had some incredible lightning storms.

The sky above us is usually clear, but the sun doesn’t shine through. However, the surrounding mountains are blanketed in purple, dark blue or even grey clouds through which shoots jagged, irregular bolts of lightning in the evenings. The weird thing is the silence. Yeah, really strange and a phenomenon unfamiliar to me. One could say it’s because the mountains are off in the distance and the peals of thunder dissipate before reaching us. Well, I thought that a possibility until last night.

On Sundays a group of us gather at one of the MWR buildings to smoke cigars. We’re the Rocket City Cigar Club. This base used to be called Rocket City – but thankfully things have quieted down. Anyway, the club meets at 7pm. Our crew got there abit early because we wanted to avoid getting caught in the approaching rain. Those ominous clouds had formed over the mountains in the distance as they had for at least 10 days now. It was about 6:45pm and our regular lightning storm had been going on since 5:30. It was cool.

The wind picked up and the lightning intensified, but the rain hadn’t begun. Clouds had slowly crept over the mountain behind us and were making their way overhead. Have ya ever seen one of those movies where it’s nighttime, dark everywhere, a storm is raging, there’s sheets of rain, loud cracks of thunder and everything is sporadically lit up as lightning strikes? Imagine that, but take away the thunder. Yeah, freakish ain’t it?

We experienced about 45 minutes of wind and lightning – in the dark. It was so incredible. Trees were whipping around, stuff was flying in every direction and the darkness would instantly evaporate as lightning bolts broadly stretched across the sky overhead. I was like a kid at the circus watching the acrobats for the first time! And the most bizarre thing – not one clap of thunder the entire time. I still don’t understand how that’s possible. It’s not like we have the market cornered on thunder in the United States – despite the copious amounts of wind in the state capitols across the country, not to mention D.C.

Then the rain hit. It was around 7:35pm when the first urgent drops began to fall. A deluge quickly ensued, soaking any and everything not under cover. It was funny watching people run for awnings, porches, etc. The rain was cold and loud – our overhead cover was a tin roof. Can you guess what happened next – Hail. Again, I was excited. Small bb sized pellets of hail rained down on us for about 10 minutes, then the rain continued. Dude, it’s like mid summer around here. Temps should be in the 90’s already and yet we’ve been treated to the mildest summer I’ve ever experienced in Afghanistan. The rain continued til about 9pm at which time we departed cigar club.

I wanted to chill abit longer but Sister Mary was cold and the others were bored so we left for the office. We said our goodbyes and promised to come back next Sunday. I kinda wish I hadn’t returned to the office because after I let everyone go the phone started ringing like crazy and I ended up working until 11pm. So much for my lazy, relaxing Sunday….

However, I’m sure there’ll be more storms.

FOB Salerno Afghanistan

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