Sunday afternoon it was 89 degrees and very humid. In my corner of the north woods this is ‘unusually’ hot. It is the kind of soup that produces severe weather.

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

I got back to my camp ground at 3:30 and turned on my weather radio just to check conditions. NOAA was predicting rapid development of severe weather including high winds (up to 60 mph), up to softball sized hail, heavy rains and possible tornadoes.

I decided to make some preparations. I took the hanging plants off the camper awning and retracted it. Last summer this new awning cost $1,000 so when in doubt I protect it by rolling it up. I retracted the two slide outs and filled my water tank to add weight. That is all I can do besides taking shelter in one of the concrete outhouses. The new vault toilets were courtesy of the Obama Recovery Act and every round of bad weather I thank him.

In mid afternoon NOAA spoke of rapidly developing storms. Somehow I have no real understanding of how storms develop. I can recite the facts about humidity, barometric pressure, high pressure, low pressure and other weather terms. I still kind of believe that storms come from just off the left side of my computer screen.

By 5:00 watches and warnings begin to be broadcast. Between then and 7:30 or so three tornado warnings and multiple severe thunderstorm warnings were broadcast for my county. I was listening to Minnesota Public Radio. Between the “We interrupt this broadcast for….” and the alarms from my weather alerts on my phone, it was almost too much information. I kept checking the radar maps on my phone.

Here is where the randomness comes in. The blobs of orange and red went to the south of me and just to the north of me. I was included in a couple of warnings but the events missed me. I had a few periods of heavy rain and heavy wind. No hail fell. No trees fell in the camground.

The other thing that happens during this kind of weather is that I learn the names of the many small towns that dot the northern Minnesota landscape. The warnings also list the affected lakes in the Boundary Waters. I listen to the weather with my atlas open and my map of the BWCA lakes unrolled. At a minimum, I am learning more with every weather event.

I lucked out last night. With a vigorous nod to climate change/climate disruption, when I first came up here 9 years ago and asked about tornadoes I was told that we were too far north for tornadoes. Ha! Last night one went north of me.


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