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    • Have you ever ridden with a storm chaser during tornado season in Oklahoma? Been stuck on a mountainside during a lightning storm?  Or seen an insane display of Mother Nature’s power through your tent’s window?

      Share your stories, with or without photos.

    • Fortunately I don't think I've been caught in any of the server weather events we get here, When I was young we had a decent hail storm where there ground was covered in about 15cm 6 inches of hail, the back half of the house had an aluminium room the weight of the hail was enough buckle the roof and any storms we got for a while after managed to let water in, until we re-sloped the roof with more fall on the slope and resealed the roof. Another one was again when I was young, my father was driving back from somewhere with myself, as we drove past a park a lightning bolt hit a tree as we were driving past, the lightning bolt actually wrapped itself around the tree corkscrew fashion, I was actually looking out the window in that direction at the time and saw an explosion of bark leave the tree trunk. For years after my father would tell the story how the car had two dents in the roof where our heads hit the roof from the shock. You could see the scare on the tree where the lighting wrapped around it, the tree didn't survive the lighting strike. The only even I have a photo of is one of the big dust storms that we get here at times, this one was back in September 2009 while I was driving to work in the daylight, A large dust storm from central Australia hit Sydney in the morning, the whole sky went orange visibility was like driving in an orange fog. We had a few dust storms since but nothing as bad as that morning. The only other storm event are a few hail storms which we get most summers last year My car was out in one and the hail stones were about 3cm to 4cm in diameter, so managed to put dents in every panel of the car and the chrome window trim. So nothing to exciting. 

    • For me, my wife, and sons aged 3 and 1, it was a tropical storm in Corpus Christie, Texas, in the middle of the night. We had never seen anything like it.

      I was on temporary assignment as a geophysicist in an apartment complex. My wife heard tapping on the bedroom window and woke up to find water leaking in the closed window and running down the wall. A small tree outside was being thrown around by the wind so violently its limbs kept slapping the grass. She woke me up. The blackness of the night would suddenly blind us with flashes of light.

      We turned on the radio. It was mostly static but we could make out the words tropical storm and winds exceeding 100 mph. The bedroom window glass broke and threw glass, rain and pea gravel on our bed. Mystery solved: the tapping was coming from pea gravel pelting the glass.

      We woke the boys and got them away from the windows. We blocked our broken window with a crib mattress that had a waterproof cover to keep the rain and wind out. We watched for an hour as the trees flailed and trash flew everywhere until the storm passed.

      The apartment complex had no parking, so we all parked on the street. In the morning I walked the row of cars and all our back windows were broken. My stereo speakers under the back window were submerged in water. Our paint was pitted and random other windows were broken on other cars.

      I cruised Corpus Christie in my waterlogged car. I remember the blown out Taco Bell, Exxon and Circle K signs and debris and trash everywhere.

      This is just a random photo from wunderground that gives a feel for what it was like to get in our cars.

    • I was backpacking with a friend in Utah late one summer when an unexpected early storm came to the mountains. We were camped at 11 thousand feet and it started slushing. It was continuous slushy rain that melted after a few minutes and turned white on the ground at night. We stayed in our tents because we were 20 miles from civilization and were afraid if we got wet we might freeze. We thought the storm would pass in a few hours but we had to stay in our tents for three days with nothing to do but wait for the storm to break.

      On the fourth day, it was still drizzling and gray but we decided to make a break for it because our tents had leaked enough that our down sleeping bags were getting wet. It was hard packing up because our hands and faces were so cold. We walked all day in the mud and wet to make it back to a lodge with a fireplace and cabin to stay in. Hot chocolate never tasted or felt so good!

    • Endurance motorcycle ride (Iron Butt Association) - 48 States in 10 days or less. Day six; a very long day, which started in West Virginia, covered 8 states and ended near Mobile, Alabama.

      There's no gear on this earth that will keep you dry while on a motorcycle in weather like this. I sat under a bridge (which had no exit ramp to escape the Interstate...) for about 15 minutes, watching the lightning dancing around me.

      I could sit there, taking my chances of this bridge (or me) getting struck by the lightning, or take off and try to find the end of the rain cell I was under.

      Scaring up enough courage (along with a long list of epithets I was screaming...) to continue my journey. Less than ten miles later, I was beginning to dry off, and knew my ride would be successful.

    • Weather, hmmm. 

      Sir Ranulph Fiennnes - - said “There is no bad weather , only inappropriate clothing”

      It sounds kind of goofy, but I am beginning to come around to his viewpoint.

      The worst weather I ever experienced was at the end of my driveway in Terre Haute Indiana in the winter blizzard to 1978.  I Had just bought a new 1978 Scout II in December, never really thinking I would seriously test its off road/snow road abilities.  I loved that car, it was an indestructible farm implement.

      The blizzard of 1978 began on January 25 and covered the Ohio River Valley. Locally around my home the snow fall was over 30 inches, but drifts reached the roof of the Scout parked in my driveway and the eaves of my roof.  

      Roads were officially closed, but police couldn’t really patrol due to the snow.  I drove about 4 miles to the nearest grocery store for winter supplies and food and was met with 4WD John Deer tractors in the parking lot that morning.  I only wish I had thought to take pictures.  The check out counters were covered with beer, cigarettes, milk, eggs and bird food.  It was 1978 after all, and one needed the necessities of life

      In much of central Indiana, snow was drifted too deep to plow, so roads were dug out with bucket loaders over the next few weeks.   Much of the snow would remain until mid-March.  Thank God for my Scout II.

      The worst blizzard in US history

      With good clothing I have gone boating in eastern and western Greenland, and at 82°N in the Arctic Sea north of Svalbard and among the icebergs in Alaska.   With a Gumby suit I was pretty comfortable and less cold than in my own driveway in the winter blizzard of 1978 which had wind chills of 50-60°F below zero.

      Riding motorcycles in rain is an activity which can always be unpleasant if not properly dressed.  With an Aerostich Roadcrafter suit and and electric vest I have ridden from New Mexico home to Indiana in 40°F with rain the whole way.  Not the best way to spend a day, but not the worst either.

      At the other extreme is high temperatures -  A friend, Aaron Nelson, hosted a photo workshop in July 2009 at the Toroweap Overlook on the north rim of Grand Canyon.  He chose July to try to let us capture clouds in the sky over Grand Canyon, which usually has fair empty blue skies.   I knew it would be hot, so I arrived in St George Utah a couple days early to try to adapt a bit to the heat.  The typical daytime temps in St George were running 110-115 °F. 

      To make one appreciate how lovely this is, the Utah Dept of Transportation had road crews out pouring hot asphalt in the mid-day sun with temps approaching 118°F.  Nothing to fret about!! 

      At 10pm in St George, the temps were still above 100°F. - fortunately my motel room was air conditioned, but the tents we were taking to Toroweap were not going to be air conditioned.  

      I was a bit concerned as the only physician in a group of men, mostly older than 50 years of age.  The first suggestion for heat stroke was to remove the person to a cooler air conditioned room, but at Toroweap the nearest air conditioned room was over a 100 miles of rough back road away.   But Aaron was ahead of me, and thought to bring a gazebo for shade as there is none at Toroweap.  So each morning we would arise before sunrise, shoot sunrise, and then spend the day sitting beneath the gazebo drinking lots of water and pouring water over our selves, until sunset, when we would again wander out to photograph sunset.  We all survived without incident.  Most humans are pretty tough if they are a bit smart too.  When your car got stuck in the sand trap, you quickly  learned to don leather gloves before touching it to push it out - otherwise you would burn your hand.   

      I just spent two weeks chasing wolves and other creatures in Yellowstone National Park, but the snows were modest and the temps pretty warm and pleasant - nothing below zero

    • Responses like these are why I started Sunday panels: I love long form responses where people are sharing their personal stories, reflections and insights. To me it’s a way to build community by getting to know a bit more about the amazing people on Cake. @rsorenson I cannot believe what those three days trapped in your tent must’ve been like: I hope the experience made you and your fellow hiker close friends. @Pathfinder Your storytelling skills are masterful: you had me worrying what would happen with the insane heat in Utah and your crew’s solution was brilliant. @kwthom I’m not sure which way I would’ve gambled with that decision with lightning all around me: that must’ve been an adrenaline ride of all rides. And @Chris thanks for sharing your story of surviving 100 mph tropical winds: does the older of the two children remember that night?

      This coming Sunday I am publishing an interview with audience questions, so our next “Sunday Panel” will not be until Sunday February 16th. For those who would like to sign-up, I should have a sign-up post up on the Thursday before: I’ll include the topic we’ll be covering and some general requests for those choosing to participate; here’s last week’s sign-up post as an example.

      If you didn’t sign-up but do receive an invite from me to join a panel it’s because I’ve determined, from extensive research of current and archived conversations, that you are extremely knowledgeable or extremely passionate (or both) on the topic I’ve chosen for that Sunday’s panel. No worries if you’re not interested but hopefully you’ll decide to join in on the fun.

      To this Sunday’s panelists:


    • Sorry, I am so busy at work I have trouble doing more on Cake than dashing off something quick. I have no time for Facebook and my family is always posting something there.

      My scariest weather event was driving in Texas when a huge black 🌪 formed in the sky in front of us. It appeared to be between where we were driving and our home a few miles away. It was hard to tell where it was going but it looked like it could be headed toward the freeway we were on.

      We heard we should get under a freeway overpass but instead we did a u-turn through the grassy divider that separated eastbound from westbound lanes.

      We could only hope our house was still standing when we got home. It was, but a neighborhood not far from us was not so lucky.

    • We'll see if I have a story to tell tomorrow.
      We are currently parked up in the motorhome outside a local swimming complex in Versier, Germany sitting this out.
      It's going to be a noisy night and the motorhome is rocking like we are on a boat.

      I have a few small stories.

      My wife and I got married in March 2014 in the Coromandel area of New Zealand.
      We'd rented a large house and planned a beach wedding with various weather related backup options ranging from a small natural ampitheatre in a stand of trees between the beach and the house if it was too windy and an open sided marque in the house grounds if it was raining.

      Mother Nature had better ideas though and hit us with Tropical Cyclone Lusi. You couldn't even stand up on the beach, in the trees was out of the question and the horizontal rain ruled the marque out.
      Fortunately as we were away from our home area most of our guests had travelled to the venue the day before and were staying locally, with many actually staying in the house with us. The father-in-law however had to drive around downed trees on the roads to bring the fresh catering over on the morning though.

      We ended up getting married in the garage which all our friends emptied of farm gates and trailers and turned into a chapel while we were getting ready, complete with the white sheet off our bed as the backdrop!
      We had asked the photographers for lots of candid shots before and during the wedding as well as the usual staged stuff and so when our photo's came back the whole thing was made extra special seeing all our friends just getting stuck in and doing what needed to be done to make our day happen. When the wife walked down the aisle she couldn't believe the garage was the same place, everyone did that good a job

    • In 2002 I was travelling Europe by car with my girlfriend at the time and in late afternoon on a winters day we arrived in the snow covered town of Andorra-la-Vella, the capital of the tiny principality of Andorra which is in the mountains between France and Spain.

      Our intended destination for the evening was a camp site about 20 kilometres out of town and as we left town the sun started to go down and it started snowing again.
      About 5km out of town I decided conditions had worsened to a state where I was not comfortable continuing. We could no longer see the road and were relying on the road marker poles on each side of the road to tell if we were still on the road or not

      We managed to get the car turned around and very slowly drove back to Andorra-la-Vella. For the trip back to town the sun was well gone and we were staring out the windscreen looking for the reflector on the next road pole at walking pace.
      As we arrived back in Andorra-la-Vella I saw flashing lights behind us as a service vehicle pulled up and closed gates across the road, shutting it off to all traffic.

      All the while this was going on all I had on my mind was that we were in a white car, in a snow storm, at night. If something had gone wrong we wouldn't have been found until the snow melted in Spring.

      I think roadside snow poles are a european thing. Anywhere that regularly gets snow has them so even if the snow is fairly deep you can see where the road goes.

    • I drive a white truck and I can readily appreciate your concern when travelling in a white car in a blizzard. BTDT, and it is always a concern. Nonetheless, I still drive a white truck.

      My wife told me she wanted an "Authorized vehicle" - you see the signs along interstate highways saying this turnaround is only open for "Authorized vehicles". All the authorized vehicles - electric lineman trucks, telephone trucks, ambulances etc are white - so we bought a white truck so it is an "authorized vehicle" too.... And a lot cooler parked in the desert sun all day.

      Roadside marking poles are quite common along roadsides in the mountains in the western US which get plowed for snow accumulation. I have always thought they were to help the snow plow drivers stay on the road and not depart from the hidden roadway, inadvertently. They are a help to see the buried roadway in storms, I agree. I have used them similarly myself.

    • So far I've no new exciting stories to tell but we've been dodging this for a few days now. When I first posted we'd just moved on from the Black Forest area in Germany to avoid the worst of this, and now we are in Amsterdam for a few days, it's had some fairly wide reaching effects over 4 or 5 countries.

      The last 25 miles driving into Amsterdam yesterday were getting pretty hairy though with strong side gusts of wind against the motorhome making it difficult in places to stay in our lane. One gust was strong enough to push in the spring mounted side mirror against the cab.

    • In San Blas Panama last year, sailing between Panama and Colombia, I did a short stop off in San Blas. Beautiful weather, amazing scenery, idyllic beaches, paradise islands...lots of them to explore.

      I'm a very strong swimmer and feel comfortable in most scenarios involving water so off I went, the water was warm and I had a day free. Put a waterproof camera around my neck and went swimming

      In this area, the water is mostly shallow, and lots of wildlife

      I decided to swim to a recent wreck to have a closer look, the ill fated San Blas Ferry that ran aground on its second voyage

      After a look around it was time to swim back, maybe a mile or so...and then the rain started, torrential rain.

      The wind picked up and visibility at times was almost zero (luckily) for only about 15 minutes. There was no choice but to tread water and float until the storm passed. As I was doing this, not feeling too uncomfortable I did wonder how a less strong swimmer would have handled this situation.

      By the time the rain had subdued, the sun was starting to set and San Blas went back to its normal idyllic self