Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We don’t get thunderstorms

Even if you don’t understand German, it’s clear what’s going on in this video. Taken today, it’s an unusual event: a full-blooded thunderstorm in our village.

Normally, thunderstorms tend to avoid us. Coming in from the west, they usually go up either the Kinzig valley, towards Fulda, or the Main valley, towards Aschaffenburg, completely missing our little vale. Armegeddon can come to everywhere else, while we swelter in hot, humid air, listening to the far-off rumble of distant storms.

This one made an exception: it raced up the valley, unleashing not quite its full force, but a fair portion of it. We had at least 17 millimetres of rain; almost certainly more, but our rain gauge was knocked sideways. The sound sent our cats, normally not particularly fazed by natural phenomena, scuttling into the cellar, where I later found them watching with a mixture of trepidation and fascination at the spreading puddle of dirty water.

We were lucky. Our neighbour across the road sustained some minor damage to the roof: at the end of this video, he’s removing some other tiles to get at the dislodged ones and replace them before the next shower (he just made it).

The full force of the storm was felt elsewhere, though: we’re still very sheltered here. The radar showed a huge swathe of heavy rain and thunderstorms sweeping across central and southern Germany, and another of our neighbours, who is in the volunteer fire brigade, told us that every single brigade in the whole district was called out at least once, most several times, and a few were pretty much out and about for the whole afternoon.

Anyway, we’re fine, barring a few battered plants.

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