On the weather

Last night was the third night in 14 that I have spent without power in my area after the third serious band of thunderstorms roared through the area. The weather that folks in the Mid-Atlantic suffered through this summer has included tornados, fist-sized hail, lightning strikes, and high wind (which damaged tents on the mall as seen above).

There are many reasons that living in the DC metro area is difficult:

  • Staggeringly-high real estate prices
  • The second-worst traffic in America
  • Mass-transit that is fast becoming as expensive as driving
  • Relatively mild winters that send locals into states of existential panic
  • Brutal summers featuring loads of humidity and pollution

But the one thing that we could take some comfort in was that we did not have the kind of risk of natural disaster that many other places have. We rarely have serious flooding. Hurricanes never get this far inland. Earthquakes are entirely unheard of. Tornado touchdowns used to be a once-in-a-decade thing. Now, in the past five years, we’ve had two touch down in Southern Maryland and this most recent one that caused damage in Falls Church (the town where I live).

If this kind of consistent catastrophic weather becomes the norm, it will have removed one of the few pluses to living in this area. DC summer weather is supposed to be very simple. The heat and humidity builds up and then in the afternoon once or twice a week, the clouds open for an hour, there are a few claps of thunder, no wind… and the hours after the rain are the most pleasant of the week. No longer, now there’s wind, tornados, and extended power outages.

Oh, and if anyone sees me today and I am looking a bit more scraggly than usual, you can blame that on having to shave in the dark this morning.

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5 thoughts on “On the weather

  1. It also exposes the third-world electrical infrastructure we have in this country. In other first-world countries, power doesn’t get knocked out when storms like these roll along.

  2. Actually, I’d contest that tornadoes frequently have gone through Southern Maryland, but before the last decade, few lived there, and the technology wasn’t there to see it, so few reported it.

    That’s one of the wider parts of the Potomac and storms seem to get going after leaving VA.

  3. There was an earthquake in Fairfax County just a month or two ago. 1.9, I think. My wife actually felt it, and it was on the news.

    There was another one a few years ago, near the same level.

    Read up some time about the super quake that will eventually rip the area open (IIRC, there is even a bunch of info on it in the Natural History Museum).

  4. True, but those quakes don’t really disturb life the way they do elsewhere. I was in the Loma Prieta quake in Berkeley in 89, and despite being in 1st grade at the time, remember it like yesterday.

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