Friday, June 5, 2009

Storm in Miami, June 5

Yesterday at three-thirty the room went dark.  I went out to the balcony.  The sky was wild, churning with storm clouds; to the south, a break in the clouds.  On the next balcony my neighbor and his girlfriend stood in each other's arms, happily watching the sky.  A few drops fell.  "It's started," he called out.  Within minutes great flashes of lightening went off, and it began to rain heavily.  There wasn't much wind.  Because of the odd light, the rain appeared to come down in lines, as in a Hiroshige painting.  (I had always thought he painted rain this way in order to show it, not that it actually happened this way.)

For the next three hours the thunder and lightening barely stopped.  Usually a storm will move through quickly.  Not this one; it stalled over Miami.  The noise was terrific and unpredictable.  I did not feel frightened, but my stomach heaved.  The lights flickered.  I unplugged the computers, not sure whether we had surge protection.  

The wind picked up.  Black water blew through the cracks between the bedroom windows and the sill.  I put rolled up towels against the window and lowered the heavy wooden blind.  What I thought was rain clattered against the windows; when I went into the living room I saw lumps of ice scattered across the floor.  I had left the door to the balcony open a crack.  I scooped up a piece of hail and put it in the freezer to show to John.  He had gone out hours ago.  I mopped up the melted hail.  The temperature had dropped ten degrees.  I put on a shirt over my skimpy tank top.  The shirt felt icy, as did the floor.  The lights flickered again.  I tried to read, but the thunder made it impossible.  The lightening set off car alarms.  There were sirens from passing fire trucks and police cars.  On and on the storm went.

John had bought a devotional candle at Meridian Market: Chango Macho, promising "Luck, Money, Power, Love, "espirito de buena suerte vela de oferenda," spirt of good luck offering candle.  I lit it.  John came in the door.  The trip from his rowing club, which usually took ten minutes, had taken him an hour.  The streets were flooded; there was more than a foot of water at the intersections.

Around six, the storm slowed.  People went out on their balconies.  The sun came out and a rainbow arced across the sky, a full bow, unbroken, with a second smaller arc.  I had never seen a double rainbow before.  (If you embiggen the photo, you can see the second rainbow.)  All our troubles should end so happily.   


  1. The internet says you had nine inches in that in three hour period.

    To see a rainbow over the full 180 degrees is rare enough, but a double is something I have never seen. Your picture really shows it when clicked on.

  2. Bluedog: This storm gave me an idea of what a hurricane would be like here. I'm also thinking of "Key Largo," with Bacall, Bogart, Lionel Barrymore, and Edward G. Robinson, who plays a gangster. He cracks during the hurricane, his upper lip growing moister and moister as terror overcomes him, while the Bacall, Bogart, and Barrymore characters keep their cool as the storm howls. I should start training myself to keep my nerve.

  3. What an excellent storm description. I'm actually envious of your adventure and it's conclusion. Those candles are powerful items!

  4. Thank, you, Melissa:
    According to one report 9 inches of rain fell in three hours.