Saturday, July 21, 2012


We recently went to the UK for 3 weeks. While there it rained every day. Except the last day when it was 73 degrees - the warmest day of our visit. Even for the UK this was some kind of record.
The stories of the storms are too numerous to list, but a few are worth mentioning - like the storm that had over 100,000 lightning strikes. Like the heavy rains that produced landslides, washed railways and roads out and flooded towns and villages that had never been flooded before.
The TV showed scenes of houses half under water, cars completely under water, people swimming for their lives, people paddling around their neighborhoods in kayaks, canoes and boats.
While it did rain every day, except the last, it did not rain all day and we were able to visit with friends and relatives. There were days with sunny spells and even days with more sun than rain. But overall it was a pretty damp trip. We did have to cancel a visit to our friend Gill Coyne who lives in the beautiful Dartmoor National Park. We did not cancel because the main road to Devon was closed because of floods. It was, and for more than a week. Or even because of other roads on the way there closed by more floods and even landslides. No we had to cancel because of a bad knee, my left knee, which forced me to limp around with a cane, take lots of anti-inflamatory and pain killing drugs and visit the A&E (Accident and Emergency) Department of the local hospital - in the middle of the night. Other "exciting" episodes of our trip includeed taking my father to the hospital in an ambulance. The same hospital that I had gone to the previous day, after he fell and hit his head badly. I stayed with him until 4.00 am at which time they admitted him. We picked him up the next day. Meanwhile it would appear that because the UK had aquired the rights to all the worlds rainfall, the USA had fallen into its worst drought in 60 years. (I should maybe mention here that earlier in the year the UK was also in a bad drought and had a hosepipe ban in force. In the UK! The ban was not raised until the reservoirs were filled - which took 2 months of virtually continuous rain!) Two days after we left for our trip to England a massive storm hit the East Coast of the the US and more than 3 million homes in the Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland area were without power for up to 8 to 10 days. At the same time, wouldn't you know it, a heat wave struck and temperatures soared to over 100 degrees. No A/C and temperatures of as much as 105 and more! Our daughter's home was among the 3 million affected. In an unusual, and fortuitous, case our house did NOT lose power. (In any weather or accident situation our community is usually the first to lose electricity), so our daughter was able to come over and borrow our generator. Luckily they had a window A/C, which they installed in their bedroom window, so the whole family was able to spend cool nights together in one bedroom. During our 3 weeks of rain in the UK the Maryland weather managed to produce less than an inch of rainfall. So while the UK had it's wettest time ever, the US had it's driest period in 60 years. Go figure. We returned to a dry landscape with shriveled shrubs, dead flowers and window boxes and a brown lawn. That was Tuesday night. On Thursday night we had a big wind, lightning and rain storm at about 9 pm. The rain was so heavy that we could not even see the other side of The Lake and at times we could not see The Lake, which is less than 100 feet from our house. At about 11 pm we had another similar storm. The wind was lashing the trees about so badlly that I fully expected to lose a lot of them. In fact we only had a few branches down. The next morning I went out and checked buckets that are scattered around the property. We had received 4 1/4 inches of rain from the 2 storms! Friday dawned wet. It rained several times on Friday. But it was only minor - maybe a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch in all. Today, Saturday, it is raining again. Checking the weather in the UK I see that it is expected to be sunny with temperatures in the 70's. Is the rain following us? Should we think about renting ourselves out to drought stricken areas?