Holy Weather Event

July 20, 2015

So I’m sitting at the light at Poleline Road and 5th Street, listening to what had been an interesting story on NPR–can’t remember now what it was–and the Emergency Broadcast Alert comes on full blast. Not the test thing that they give you full warning for, but the real deal.

This happened to me only once before: I was driving home from an eye appointment in Elk Grove in 2011 and, HOLY WEATHER EVENT, I was caught in a dark and dangerous storm cell. It was exciting and scary and intense; you can read about it here. 

My heart is pounding because I just know it’s another weather event, and I’m sure it’s related to all the rain that California is getting right now, and I can see that this weather event is not in Davis or anywhere within eye-shot. I have a sinking feeling it’s up in the mountains and a sinkier feeling it’s going to be exactly where Peter and his friends are backpacking.

And I’m exactly right.

The weather official, broadcasting in a very scratchy, low fidelity way, describes a narrow swatch of the Sierra that includes the area around Sword Lake and continues with warnings of bowling-ball-sized hail (okay, slight exaggeration), high winds, ferocious thunder, and says, essentially, it’s going to rain lightening. He says that if you’re in the area to get yourself to shelter immediately. It sounds positively apocalyptic. Right there near Sword Lake.


I know this is something that is going to move through, but I also worry that before it moves through it’s going to pummel our boys. And I just hope that they have the good sense to huddle together somewhere low and dry and keep their wits about them. I hope they’ve anticipated this, have moved their belongings into their tents (I sure hope they’ve set up both tents, and securely, because the low-fidelity guy said the winds would be FIERCE).

I drove down 5th barking commands to Siri to text Peter, Jim, and Carrie.

It’s all I could do.

Got home and followed up with some calls. Had a calming call with Marc, who’s been through far worse (times five thousand), talked to Jim (eventually… he was taking a nap) and just agitated around.  I also sent a message to my friend from First Grade, Chris, who lives up in Sonora, and asked him about the weather (it was nice, he said, though a bit dark to the east). I also, also, made a call to the Pinecrest Ranger Station and left a worried mom message… though tried not to sound too worried. Just wanted them to have a number to call… in case.  They’d gone home for the day.

By now, as of this writing, the storm’s cleared. I’m calm(er). I’m sure a story is in the making. Looking forward to hearing about it from cheerful, full-chested, storm-survivin’ guys tomorrow.

In the meantime, some tomatoes:


It’s the only picture I have (from next-door Mary’s garden).

2 Responses to “Holy Weather Event”

  1. aquasoul Says:

    Your motherly worry is adorable Kari. I notice however that you’ve been training him to do, what he’s doing, since he was a child. So he is no doubt very prepared for whatever comes 🙂

    • Kari Says:

      Adorable. Ouch. Not the way it felt.

      The thing is, I am familiar with mountain thunderstorms. They happen, they’re dramatic. Rarely, however, does the *usual summer mountain thunderstorm* interrupt programming throughout the region. Rarely do they blast such a severe warning to find immediate shelter…

      … and in the very area–literally, carefully described–as our boys’ destination .. on their first solo trip.

      They are 17 and resourceful, and at least 3 of them have loads of mountain experience. But they are also 17, with more sense of adventure than sense. Sometimes.

      I understand weather happens and it’s not necessarily life threatening. And I also know the boys will figure it out, if messily.

      It was a dramatic moment in the car, listening to the emergency alert, and hearing the precise location where the worst of it was bearing down. And remembering also the storm cell I experienced the last time I heard such an alert (the only other time programming has been interrupted, actually).


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