Say what you will about the weather here in Texas, it is rarely boring.
Tonight was no exception. All day long the weather had been a trifle muggy. The air was still and the temperature hovered around 80 F (27 C). People who have lived in Texas long enough know that at this time of year, these were the fixins for some mighty interesting weather. Usually around sunset on days such as this, all hell will break loose.
These things were in the back of everyone’s mind all day long, but it’s not unusual, so it was business as usual.
So … what better way to celebrate the end of a workweek than by going out to a mall for a stroll around the shops and some dinner? That is precisely what several thousand of us did.
I had no sooner gotten my order in my hand than the warning sirens started going off outside the mall. I quickly glanced at the radar on my phone and it showed that a nasty looking storm cell was skirting just to the north of us. And it had the dreaded “hook” in it, which is the signature of a tornado. Hence the sirens.
Minutes later, the warning alerts went off in the mall and a garbled message played over the loudspeakers. They were either telling everyone to take shelter, or telling us there was a BOGO sale at the Gap. The smarter of us moved downstairs and away from glass (and away from the sudden crowds at the Gap). I ate my teriyaki chicken nonchalantly in a remote corner of the mall. Overall, the mood was chill. It’s just Texas weather. Nothing unusual in springtime.
Eventually the all-clear was sounded after two potentially tornadic cells went by, one to the north of us, and one to the south. Fortified by teriyaki chicken and fried rice, I decided that I would rather face storms at home rather than in a building composed primarily of glass and projectiles.
The drive home was uneventful. Though I could see the dark, hellish clouds several miles away, the skies directly above me as I drove were clear.
Until I got about a quarter mile from home.
That’s when the hail started. It was mostly pea sized. No big deal. Not big enough to dent a car. Still, it inspired me to drive a little faster. Then came the intermittent ping-pong ball sized hail. I drove down the alleyway at a speed not recommended for alleyways.
I pulled into the garage just as all hail broke loose.
I stood in the garage with the door open and watched a downpour of pea-sized hail, interspersed with ping-pong-ball sized hail. The noise was deafening. Then came a couple of racquetball sized hailstones. A baseball sized hailstone hit the fence near where I stood and sounded like a gunshot.
It was all quite exciting!
And then, just as quickly as it started, it was all over.
The sun came out. The birds started singing. The hail melted away into water in a matter of minutes. Silence descended o’er the land. A sigh was heaved. Pajamas were put on. Coffee was brewed.
Just another quiet night in Texas.