Experiencing a Microburst’s Power

Experiencing a Microburst’s Power

More than a decade ago, in the midst of a periodic economic slump, a job possibility appeared, based in a state in the South. With that year beginning with the loss of freelance contracts and projects totaling $2,100 a month, I gave it serious consideration.

As it turned out, the logistics of an interview fell apart because of bad weather in another state. I never got a second chance to meet with the executive; two weeks later the organization announced their new hire.

It took a while before my work turned around. In the meantime, the state I had contemplated moving to got walloped by a tornado, as did several neighboring ones. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief that I had stayed put.

Nasty Microburst

Experiencing a Microburst’s Power blog post by Ken Walker Writer. Pictured a stormy sky, like the kind before a tornado.While I dodged a bullet long ago, the first week of April brought my turn to experience a monumental, 17-tornado storm in our area that weathercasters said included “microbursts.”

Having never heard the term, I checked the National Weather Service’s site. There I found its definition as a “localized column of sinking air (downdraft) within a thunderstorm.” Usually no more than 2.5 miles in diameter, these phenomena can cause extensive damage and in some instances be life-threatening.

I know how much so after having recently driven through the most vicious storm I have ever experienced in my lifetime.

It happened the day after our insurance company declared our previous car a total loss after what I thought was a minor brush with a deer (animals I consider nasty and destructive).

After retrieving our EZ Pass transponder, jumper cables, and other auto belongings from the repair shop, my wife and I set out for the car dealer where we bought our previous model.

We identified a similar one, but to make sure test drove another with a lower price. Heading for the nearby interstate ramp, we drove four miles west, exited, and  headed east toward the dealer’s lot.

About halfway there the rain that had fallen intermittently that morning turned into a whirling dervish. Without warning we were trapped in the midst of torrents of rain falling so hard and whirling so fast it reduced visibility to near zero.

It felt like being in the middle of a powerful blizzard and white-out conditions. Only instead of snow, rain and wind blocked our sight.

Flashing Emergency

Car emergency flasher buttonBeing thoroughly unfamiliar with the dashboard of our car, I had no idea how to activate the emergency flasher lights as I slowed to about 30 mph.

Fortunately, the driver in front of me knew his controls. I used his flashers as my north star, hoping we could reach our exit and a modicum of safety on the route off the interstate.

Just as we neared the exit ramp—which contains a slight veer to the left because of construction—the car we had followed pulled over to the side of the road.

Being able to see now, I scooted around him and down the ramp, breathing a sigh of relief.

When we returned home, we found two huge tree limbs had blown into our yard from parts unknown. Later, it took a friend with a chainsaw and his nephew six hours to saw up the limbs and remove all the other debris.

Our pastor recently started a sermon series in Romans, which includes the observation that God’s “eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20 MEV).

I saw that power in a microburst.

One Response

  1. This post on how humbling the power of God is, in something so trivial (to Him) as a wind and rain storm, brought to mind a small piece from the novel I’m writing, which is from the point of view of Nicodemus. In my story, Nicodemus is presented with increasing evidence of the divinity of Jesus, and he has many questions. He ponders his questions out loud to his wife on Resurrection Sunday, after they have gone to bed. She replies, gently, “Who are you to require answers from Him, the embodiment of dominion ‘Who hath gathered the wind in His fists’?” (quoting from Proverbs 30:4).

    I was out and about, too, several years ago, when I got caught in a microburst. I could barely make out the line of trees paralleling the road next to a park. But through the horizontal sheets of rain I could barely make out the violent motion of the trees being blasted, and pulled over into an open space between trees, in case they were torn up. They weren’t, but back in my town when I completed my errands, I found huge damage to trees and power lines. Fortunately none to our house or property, but quite a bit elsewhere in town.

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