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Hi, my name is Nixy and I’m addicted to severe weather.

{Hi, Nixy!}

I’ve been addicted to storms since I was a child – at first it was a deep-set fear. I would have The Weather Network on all morning to make sure there wouldn’t be any storms, and if severe weather came I would hide in the hallway sobbing with my hands over my ears, because the thunder was so loud. I live in Southwestern Ontario, which gets the worst storms in all of Canada. They’re always violent, and usually each storm –if it doesn’t spawn a tornado- manages to kill someone with a lightning strike.

This summer alone we just recently had a twister that hit Goderich, Ontario – a tiny beach community – and it caused so much destruction. Destroyed a lot of buildings, many homes and left one person dead. Info on the twister: August 21, An F3 tornado touched down in Goderich, Ontario. In the late afternoon, a supercell storm formed and intensified over Lake Huron, spawning a waterspout which came ashore and passed directly through the heart Goderich. At its widest over downtown, the tornado was estimated to be 1.5 km across, and its path was an estimated 20 km long. It caused devastating damage to the town’s port and historic downtown center, as well as to several blocks of residential homes. Approximately forty people were injured and one person was killed by the tornado, Ontario’s strongest since 1996.

{Group nods sagely}

But, I’m derailing.

I was so terrified of these storms that my uncle used to lock me on the balcony of my apartment, if he was over during a storm, and make me sit through it. I could’ve been killed but he thought it was hilarious. He also went to come let me in because I was out in back of my apartment building riding my bike when a storm came in. Instead, he let my bike in but locked me out. I sobbed uncontrollably. I was 6 and 8 back then, I’m 25 now and still remember both events vividly.

 


 

This post actually got interrupted because my city was placed under a tornado warning. I sat in my bathroom tracking this storm via radar and keeping an eye on updates via Twitter. The damage seems to have extended from Cambridge (25 minutes away) to Burlington (10 minutes away) with us –Hamilton- in the middle. Reported damage from friends: front bay window smashed in, glass patio table shattered with its chairs blown across the backyard; full patio set strewn into bushes with gazebo umbrella ripped to shreds. The Skyway Bridge leading into Burlington had to be closed down because of metal scaffolding coming off.

I’m writing the remainder of this from a friend’s, as I came here to watch the lightning from her 7th storey balcony – as well as keep her company as the remnants of the storm. I will have a nice time-lapse video of the storm to post later.

 


 

Back to my topic of storm addiction… it was my fear of storms that eventually brought me to my addiction of storms. Somewhere along the way, I decided that instead of being afraid of them I would learn everything I could about them so that I couldn’t be afraid anymore. People fear what they do not know, correct? How can I fear something once I understand what creates it, its purpose, what makes it tick. I spent years reading everything I could on severe weather and while I’m definitely not the best there is, I know enough to keep myself safe and just a bit too much to teeter on the cusp of active weather addiction.

I don’t get this way over snowstorms. I love showing to my friends that don’t live here, how much snow we can get. But I’m not that interested in active weather that doesn’t pertain to thunder, lightning and tornadoes.

I’ve quite the impressive collection of menacing cloud photos that I’ve taken, some good lightning strikes I got in the summer of 2010 when a tornado struck Leamington County. I have a few storm videos. I think one day I would love to go storm chasing and see a tornado up close and personal. Even the formation of a supercell would be amazing. One day. For now, I am content to sit at home and obsess over severe weather from my balcony.

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