Osoyoos: The Storm

You’ll have noticed from the first Journey post that we had a lot of rain on the way out to Osoyoos. Unfortunately the bad weather followed us out there. It was very hot and very windy when we arrived, and we had lots of fun putting the tent up while it was flapping about and trying to escape.

Then the thunder storm started.

I love thunder storms. I’ve seen some great ones in the German Alps and Colorado Rockies; in both cases the storm got trapped between the mountains, resulting in hours and hours of forked lightning and deafening thunder in the valleys. This desert storm was better than anything we get in Vancouver, but not quite on the same scale as those mountain extravaganzas. It came very close to us though – in fact there was forked lightning hitting the slopes that rise up around the campsite – and lasted a good long time. We even got to see lightning jumping from cloud to cloud, which I haven’t seen since a tornado passed within half a mile of my cousin’s place in Ohio.

Here’s me failing to capture the lightning on video, but successfully documenting the wind. Note Mr E Man at the end, making sure that all of his wife’s needs are met.

As the rain started, we picked up all the loose gear, stashed it in the car, and ran for the tent trailer. The wind was strong enough to pick up bits of loose gravel and fling them at me rather painfully – or so I thought at first. Here’s what was actually going on (sorry about the bad language and worse camera work):

Yep, hail stones in the desert.

Some poor kid on our campsite had his leg broken by a falling tree branch – the police, paramedics, firefighters and search and rescue teams all turned up. It made the news across Southern BC and in the kid’s home town of Edmonton, to the extent that when we got home, people kept asking us if we were OK!

As the storm started to die down, we built up a fire and huddled around it in all the warm clothes we could muster. It rained intermittently all night, but we counted ourselves lucky to have life, limb and tents intact (although we did lose the tarp), and still managed to have a good time. The beer helped. It was still raining the next morning, so we embarked on an epic Risk battle in the tent trailer. I achieved global domination (in my first ever game! Although I had some help) just as it started to get hot enough for swimming. The next couple of days were hot and sunny with some clouds, and the Sunday was blisteringly hot with no clouds at all. I had to keep my Celtic skin completely out of the sun for a few hours and the hailstones seemed like a vague and distant memory – I’m glad we have the video to prove it really happened!

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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4 Responses to Osoyoos: The Storm

  1. hypoglycemiagirl says:

    yay for beer-bringing husbands!

  2. CAE says:

    Yes, he’s my hero!

  3. Wayfarer Scientista says:

    I love storms – regardless of danger.

  4. CAE says:

    Yeah it’s really exciting. I didn’t feel that we were in any real danger until after I heard about the accident at the other end of the site – falling trees hadn’t even occurred to me, I was just enjoying the show!

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