Don't you just love them? Wow. I mean, granted, we don't really have tornadoes where I live, so that may color my experience. But, there's just something about that early evening thunderstorm that just speaks to the power-mixed-with-danger-plus-glory of God. Am I the only one?
Here in Arizona we have more haboobs than we do actual thunderstorms. They come up rapidly and leave quite the cleanup mess afterwards, especially for those of us with backyard pools. Haboobs also spread the virulent Valley Fever that impacts humans and animals.
The Arizona Monsoon season begins officially June 15 and runs to Sept. 30. We will get regular thunderstorms mixed with haboobs during this time. My Shih Tzus go nuts over the racket, one of them needing prozac to cope.
All this while dealing with triple digit temperatures starting in May, ending in September. Arizonans basically hibernate indoors during these hot months. The expression, the Devil lives in Hell and rents out Arizona seems appropriate in these months.
From October to about April, Arizona is just like the brochures you may be reading from the realtors. While elsewhere others are digging out of the snow, we are running around in shorts and enjoying temperatures in the 65 to 80 degree range during the day. The evening temperature drops often exceed 30 degrees, too.
For those that can afford it, having a cabin or summer home located in Flagstaff or above is a welcome alternative to those living in the Phoenix metro area (about three hours from Flagstaff) during the summer, wherein actual winter snow and colder weather can be found.
I made the mistake of visiting Arizona in October nearly thirty years ago on a business trip. I was living in Arlington Heights, IL at the time, working at Motorola. Before getting on the plane I spent half a day shoveling my driveway of snow to get to the airport. While on the trip to Arizona, walking around in wonderful weather, I called the wife and told her we were going to move to Arizona. I did so the following month, transferring work to Motorola's Iridium Satellite project facility in Chandler, AZ.
For years afterwards, as we endured the Arizona heat, haboobs and monsoons, my family never failed to remind me exactly whose idea it was to move here.
Polk County, Florida (the county I live in) is just east of Tampa. Tampa is the lightning capital of the United States. I live 5 minutes from Lakeland which is 13th of the list of the Top 30 Cities in the U.S. With the Most Lightning. In the 3+ years I've lived in Central Florida I've seen some memorable thunderstorms. Until I lived here I've never seen the rain come down in solid chunks that can be measured in feet across. Last year was the second hurricane I encountered in my lifetime. The first one was Hurricane Frederick in 1979. I just graduated Air Force basic training and arrived at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS for tech school when Frederick hit the Mississippi coast. The storm scared the Yankee right out of me. The second was last year's, Hurricane Irma. Irma was still a category II storm when its eye went right over our house. The howling sounded like a demon-possessed freight train heading right for us. So, it goes without saying that I have a healthy respect for extreme weather.