Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Serious Weather

I discovered that Kansas does weather really big time. Should have known, after all, this is where Dorothy started off from when she took a tornado to Oz.

Before we left the ship. I saw a weather clip about a storm front moving through the Kansas area, but at the time I was more concerned about the weather in Ft Lauderdale. I did check the temperature in Kansas however, and it was supposed to be 90F on Thursday when we arrived. Wow, that was the temperature in Panama.

Before the Storm
Friday morning I was off to the track with sunshine and HOT temperatures again close to 90F. T-shirt and shorts weather, but as the day progressed I started hearing about the expected storm. It was supposed to be extreme and there were multiple warnings issued for the area. I was staying at the track for the evening ARCA night race, and as the sun went down and the track lights came on, I could see the darkening skies on the far horizon. I had been speaking to another fan sitting behind me who was from the area, so I asked him about the approaching storm. He got out his phone, and calling up a weather app, he showed me pictures of the storm. I was concerned that we might lose the race tomorrow, but he said this was not a problem; the storm would be a wild one, but would come through overnight and be gone by morning.

By the time the evening's race was over, you could see the black skies to the west and as I started walking out of the track the lightning was providing a vivid light show. I called the hotel shuttle and joined the crowd of people waiting for a ride at the road outside the track. The majority of people were taking a track tram to the various campgrounds around the track, but there were also five or six hotel shuttles coming and going.

My shuttle did not arrive in the promised 15 minutes. Those dark clouds were climbing higher into the night skies.

Fifteen minutes later, the crowd was mostly dispersed, and the sky was half dark with black clouds and the lightning was getting much wilder. The sky to the west was constantly lit up with flashes.

As the lightning got closer and closer, the police came and advised the three girls directing traffic to get into their vehicles instead of standing on the road. I was starting to get worried, so I asked one of them to call again for my shuttle. She was told it would be a while, because the driver was stuck in traffic. This was not looking good. The skies were completely black right overhead, and the violent lightning was all around. I could see the black skies clearly with the wild light show provided by the lightning. I looked around, trying to recall my limited experience with lightning, am I better to be out in the open hoping the lightning is attracted to the light poles and the elevated speedway structure close by? The tent providing shelter for folks waiting for the trams was held up my metal poles. If I went under the tent would the lightning hit the poles and be directed to the ground through them rather than me?
Welcome to Kansas Weather!

Then the rain started; hard pouring rain. Ok, I decided to take a chance under the tent.

Fortunately, my shuttle arrived soon after and I survived the storm, but back at the hotel it was only minutes later when the storm hit hard with lightning and torrential rain for hours, but by then I was safely relaxing in a nice hot whirlpool bath, watching the light show out the window.

My friendly fellow race fan was correct, and the following morning day dawned bright and sunny. BUT gone was the nice 90F temperatures; it was down to 50F. A 40 degree drop in temperature, welcome to Kansas!

No comments:

Post a Comment