Oh what a night it has been, here in my little slice of western civilization.
It all started . . . . actually, this is not one of those posts. This night spawned from a day that was by most accounts normal.
The day started out as each one does, with me grabbing a cup of coffee and my iphone, then catching up on some youtube news clips. Then I went to the kitchen to figure out why it felt so warm in the house even with the a/c on. The portable was doing the best she could, but it was no match for the heat and humidity, so the best temp we could get was 26C (#Firstworldproblems). But 26 still beats what it was outside. FUCKING HOT (#pansy).
After troubleshooting that, I went back to the hot living room and watched a few more youtube vids and turned on the TV. I puzzled over the biggest issue of the moment, the trade offs of my new cable service VIA the local telephone company.
The sweet 4 service bundle gave me more channels and a bit faster broadband (AND free long distance in Canada! even though I hate talking on the phone), not to mention a savings of $30 monthly.
But due to the limitations of the DSL infrastructure, I can only have 3 live television streams coming in at once. Meaning that when both televisions are taking a stream, the PVR can only record one show (or only 3 at the same time, assuming no one decides to go live). #firstworldproblems
Then it was off to work for the usual. The only real memorable thing was having to be outside pushing in carts in the heat.
After work I thought I would take the bus home, so I walked over to the closest street to catch one, to find out that there was at least a 20 minute wait for any one of the 3. Which made me decide to just walk home.
And a bloody hot walk it was, in the (mostly) full sun, very high humidity and black uniform dress pants that allow about as much airflow as a plastic bag.
By the time I got home, some 15 or 20 minutes later, I was so warm that I cooled myself in a 5 minute cool shower. After that, it was pretty much an ordinary night. Stuck around home and screwed around online and watched TV, with the intent to go out if someone called or texted.
Speaking of texting, growing later in the evening, I received this text message warning from the weather network of imminent severe (aka EXCITING!) weather to come. This caused me to turn on the weather network on the tv, to which I learn that this storm system had done a fair amount of damage in Saskatchewan (including spawned a few tornadoes), and that it was headed straight for the city of Brandon.
I acknowledged the risk as I always do. Severe storms happen. But as is a risky move on everyones part, I slightly underestimated the storm, that is, until it arrived.
It started with a bit of thunder, which was at first hard to tell apart from semi’s passing on a nearby main road. Then came the light show, not many visible lightning bolts but a WHOLE lot of flashing (we got nailed by the red, the most severe part of the storm). And then came the rain. It POURED, an unfortunate thing for a city that’s already in a flood fight due to past heavy rains. I took a video of it.
Having just watched on the laptop, it is hard to see the rain (youtube correction?), but it was pouring. That noise like a waterfall in the background is rain water overflowing the eve and down onto the balcony. After taping that, I stayed outside for the duration of the rain, which can’t have been all that long (if I were to put a time on it, 20 minutes at most).
I remember being impressed after the fact, because despite all the lightning, wind and rain, this area never lost power, or even telephone, cable or internet feeds (from the telephone company anyway).
But other areas of town, were a different story.
The worst hit area was the south end of town. We took a drive down one of the streets leading to it, as shown in the next video.
As you can see by the video, we were both surprised to find the puddle where it was (and the downed line. The sign you see shining in front of us, is normally at the side of the road on the pole). It caught my attention a lot, because not 2 hours before, I was standing pretty much next to that pole, by the bus stop.
We then took a bit of a tour of the South end of town (home to many nice trees big trees), and there were many down, all over the place. Not just limbs and branches, but also a few really old spruce trees. Not only did it look like that area took the brunt of the storm, but there was a small area of wrecked trees, that had the look and fingerprint of a small tornado. Huge old trees with limbs twisted all around, its lucky that none of the homes in the area were hit (that time a night, not only are they going to be home, but likely also in bed).
We were going to go to McDonalds (were my dad was during the storm, despite the place losing hydro while he was there), but then we remembered, NO POWER. So we ended up going to more centrally located all night coffee shop “Robins Donuts”. And it just so happened that a Chinese restaurant in the area had been struck in the storm, and had caught fire. The WHOLE area (including IN the coffee shop) smelled like smoke. And unfortunately, I don’t think that they will be able to save (salvage) it, judging by the state of it. Though things look quiet in this picture, there was still a lot of flame toward the back of the building at the time.
After sticking around until I had seen pretty much all their was to see, I walked home. The quiet coolness of the night was surprisingly out of place, to what was happening even a few hours earlier in the evening. The only lingering signs of the troubles of the past few hours, was the lingering smoke at ground level and the odd branch here and there.
Then I turned down a street that I always walk down, and seen this sight that I found amusing.
To put it in context, up and down that street in both directions, I could not see any debris from this storm, for as far as I could see. Just that bench. Considering my somber mood for much of the night, this was a nice little distraction. My somber mood for much of the night, was on account to my mind doing what it always does, making connections and answering questions (or forming new ones).
But tonight, it was not society, or cliche, or some other everyday menial thing that was occupying me. What I was thinking about, as I drove around and seen the damage, the glut of water, the hydro pole busted like a matchstick, was how I was staring climate change in the face.
The high water levels in the river system caused by the high amounts of rain for the past 2 weeks or so, also has the fingerprints of climate change all over it. Worldwide, there seems to be a glut of moisture in the atmosphere, which is materializing as heavy participation.
I see the fingerprints of climate change almost every time I hear about “infrequent” weather phenomenon’s becoming far “more common then usual” on the news.
This thing called climate change, is scary.