Monday, June 12, 2006

Auntie Em! Auntie Em! Its a Twister!!

I'm convinced that my friend Kev and I were in our very own Twister sequence on Saturday night.

I went to visit Kev so that we could journey to the Eagle in Charlotte on Saturday evening. It promised to be good, with some Colt studio models there, and it was also 'biker weekend'. We were excited.

We hop in Kev's 'stang, and begin our drive. It was a very muggy night, and we could see flickers of lightning to the south- which just happened to be the direction we were driving. The flickering got much more intense the closer to Charlotte that we got. It would have been beautiful to watch, had Kev not informed me that he doesn't trust the tires on his car in heavy rain, and he also just doesn't like to drive in downpours.


Miraculously, the weather held off until about 10 miles outside Charlotte. Then the rain began. And it was like the rain in the movie Psycho, where the wipers won't clear it off the windshield.

At about 6 miles to our exit, the wind started going nuts. The rain was coming horizonally across the interstate, and people were pulled off left and right. Still we forged ahead at about 15 miles an hour. For another 1/2 mile or so. That's when it started hailing and things got a bit hairy.

The lightning started striking ferociously all around. A bolt or so every 10 - 15 seconds. And VERY close by- like inside a mile. Almost no lag between flash and boom. We were frantically flipping through AM radio stations to find a weather update, but the lightning was making the radio crackle and pop with static. It was so dark we couldn't really see much, the rain was heavy and the wind was blowing debris across the interstate. A pine 'branch' blew across the interstate right in front of our car.

Kev is going less than 10 miles per hour at this point, and we are sort of in an open spot of land between interstate exits. Kev had just asked "Should I pull over?" when the lightning struck. There was one flash in front of us by maybe 100 yards or so, and then not 5 seconds later a second BRILLIANT flash hit about 25 yards to our right. The second flash blew something up, and white sparks like fireworks flew in every direction.

In that instant I had a "Twister" flashback to when they are on the farm and the tornado is bearing down on them and the sparks are flying by the grain silos.

"Go! Go! Go!" I yelled.

Kev punches it and we hurry to the next overpass area. He can't see because the rain is so fierce, but I see that we are next to a tall embankment. "Pull over here!" I shout.

We stop the car, and are listening to the storm rage about. Cars are simply stopped IN the interstate lanes at this point. I'm watching out the side windows to see if I can see anything coming. Kev and I undo our seatbelts and discuss exit strategies-- the ditch to the right of the car will provide shelter in case we need to bail out.

The wind is strong enough that it begins to shake his mustang, and it feels like the car shifts a little. Kev says, "did you just feel that?" Yes, I had felt that.

After about 5 more minutes of sitting, the weather abates some. We decide to press on to the next exit and get off and wait for a while. We make it there without incident.

After another 10 minute wait, we proceed into Charlotte and to the Eagle. Once we get into Charlotte, the rain stops and there is no more storm, just lightning flickers in the distance.

At the Eagle later, Kev and I joked about our Twister moment with some of the men there. "Cow" became our catchphrase... along with "Another cow... no, I think that was the same one."

I think we were a bit lucky, actually.


At 11:19 AM, Blogger 9W aka 9thWave aka Nthwave said...

it would have been awesome had a cow flew by.

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Ray said...

What kinda midwesterner are you?!? A cow -- it was a heffer.

I now secretly look forward to Monday Man-gina Monologues because they are full of your weekend exploits.

One day I expect to see something about a seminary.


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