Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Long View

One of the things I enjoyed most during our visit to Wyoming this summer was being able to scan the horizon for distant weather. Watching thunderheads rise over a faraway mountain range was very different from how we learn of storms around here -- on radar, by mobile alert, or hearing the rumble of approaching thunder.

On the first day of the return drive Mrs. McG and I watched two clumps of cumulus clouds grow into thunderheads in western Nebraska -- one of which won the race and stole the energy that had been feeding the other. Though there was obvious rain or perhaps virga from the unusually high cloud base, we never saw any lightning during the hours we were able to observe the storm.

Back in Wyoming where we spent the bulk of our vacation, a normal part of daily life seemed to be high winds resulting from the collapse of thunderstorms that had developed over the nearby mountains. Forecasters in that area had grown wise to the ways of thunderstorm outflow and could tell with fair certainty when the gusts would reach town and when they would subside. On July 4 high winds in the afternoon had made us wonder whether the planned fireworks shows in various towns might have to be canceled, but by dark everything had calmed down and the shows went off without a hitch -- though the surprisingly well-attended little show we went to took a worrisome long time to start.

Can't wait to go back.

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