The Question Lady writes:
As Sandy approaches, I wonder: What’s the worst weather you’ve ever been in?
Sandstorm in South Australia. But I’ve lived mainly in Britain where nature is pretty benign (at least if you don’t insist on living in the hills).
Back in the early seventies a tornado came barreling through the college town I lived in. I remember stepping out onto the porch of the house I lived in at the time. I could hear the approach of the tornado. It sounded like a freight train. When it was all over, I heard that it had come within six blocks of where I lived. Luck had been on my side that day.
-40 in Torrey Utah with 50 mph winds.
122 in Laughlin, Nevada. At midnight it was 95.
At the other extreme, I was in Scheveningen, Netherlands, right on the North Sea during early spring, and it was approximately 0 Kelvin.
Lordy, Lordy. Ever go to Death Valley in the summer?
No, because I prefer not to die via spontaneous combustion.
As long as you drink water every ten minutes, you’ll be fine.
Sorry, never answered this. I went there once after a book convention in early June. It was 124 degrees by 10:30 AM. We woke up at 5, walked and hiked while it was still cool-ish, and then napped. We couldn’t swim in the pool b/c at 75 degrees, it felt like ice. I wouldn’t do that trip again, but would go back for sure.
A terrible blizzard. I was driving from Oregon to California. They closed the freeway. Driving over back roads and eating satsuma mandarin oranges, I was lucky my car made it through the snow to the coast. There may be worse storms than that one, but that was the one where I felt the most peril.
Major snowstorm in March of ’93. When I saw plows that had spun out and off of the road, I thought to myself, “maybe I shouldn’t be trying to drive home.”
Hurricane Fran in ’96 as it passed over Durham NC. We had just finished building a house here in ’96 when Fran hit the coast around Cape Fear and came inland. First we lost power as the winds increased. Then watched the horizon light up as dozens of transformers sparked. I heard the well known freight train sound as I hid in an interior powder room too afraid to stay in the bedroom for fear of a tree crashing through. Then it passed. Then it all started again after the eye passed over. It was all helplessness and awe.
A vigorous thunderstorm while camped just below Mt Agassiz in the Sierra Nevada. We were actually only in mortal danger for five minutes or so, but stayed scared for half an hour. When we came out a few days later, we read that the weather service had recorded 500+ lightning strikes and two fires during the storm.
An icestorm in southern Alberta, Canada in 2004 or so in March or April; too crazy to risk driving. Naturally I risked the pizza delivery guy’s life instead.
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