… is (again) exaggerated by the national news. The local news is more accustomed to this.

But there was a unique aspect last night.

About 7:00PM as the winds were beginning to whip around, I went outside to put our patio umbrellas down so they wouldn’t end up in the neighbor’s yard. Above me and to the northeast where the sky was darkest, I could hear a distant rumble. I thought it might be a passenger jet on its way to Sky Harbor and, as I imagined the turbulence up there, I said a quick, “God be with them,” prayer.

But as I watched for the jet in the gaps between the clouds, the rumbling increased, decreased, did it again, and then again.

That’s not a jet, I realized.

That’s thunder — continuous, rolling thunder.

That’s different!

Moving around the yard to hear it better, I noticed there were no distinct “cracks” of sound, just continuous rumbling — the electrical discharges causing the thunder must be very far away, I thought.

And I noticed the sound was also coming from the southwest along with the dust approaching from that direction.

Thunderstorms to the northeast, and a dust storm driven by another thunderstorm coming from the southwest.

Both growling and grumbling at each other.


And, yes, the temperature had dropped significantly. I would guess it was about 85 with the approaching storms. It was borderline nice.

Approaching dust storm
Blue Sky, Dust Storm and Sunset

I stayed outside for a good ten minutes listening. All that time, the rumbling thunder never stopped; there was just a continuous carpet of sound as the winds slowly increased and the dust blew closer.

At one point I ducked inside to get my iPad2 and snap a picture showing the wonderful colors up where the clouds and dust thinned to reveal the still blue sky far above.

But eventually the lightning drew near.

Flash! One thousand, two thousand, three thousand … Boom!

A little over half a mile. That’s close, especially if you consider that the longest recorded lightning bolt was over 100 miles long.

Time to go inside.

Today’s weather forecast is partly cloudy, high about 103 and with a chance of a scattered thunderstorm or two late in the day. Pretty much normal for this time of year.

So the world didn’t end. Sorry, Fox News, you’ll have to look elsewhere for something interesting. How about another picture of Obama riding a bicycle — Is that worth national coverage, too?

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