Up until about four months ago, I didn’t care about weather. I generally didn’t have any idea of what the forecast was until it fell on my face.
Since I never checked the weather, I’ve been hit with a couple of surprises. There were times I got caught in heavy rain. One time I got caught in a tropical storm that was rolling in town. That was one of the scariest drives of my life, because it was at night and I was on a freeway when it hit. The freeway flooded quickly. I managed to get home in one piece, and I marveled that I did. I think I got lucky because I was already on my way home right when it rolled in. That tropical storm did some damage to our city – roads were torn apart, parks were heavily flooded. One person even died.
But this really did not impact me in any way, so I continued being very uninterested in weather.
But this spring, that all changed. I got caught driving in storms that were both flash flood warnings. I was going to see Boyfriend on both of these trips, and both of these storms were within 2 weeks of each other. I don’t know why these two storms scared me more than the tropical storm. I think it’s because the tropical storm hit when I was about ten minutes from home, not while I was on a longer distance trip.
The first storm was not THAT bad, now that I think back on it. I got caught in the storm out of sheer ignorance; my mom had warned me earlier in the day that my town was expecting severe weather, but I brushed it off. About twenty minutes into my trip, it started raining so heavily that I couldn’t see anything. I wasn’t the only driver to take refuge under a bridge. It started hailing, and the wind shook my truck.
As whiny as I was when this happened, that was really the worst part of it. Boyfriend suggested I should go home, but I had decided (perhaps ill-advisedly) to continue with the rest of my trip. There was still a steady rain, but nothing I couldn’t handle. It was dark, and it was kind of cozy. And there was also a small thrill that I was doing something dangerous and really stupid, especially since my cell phone battery was about dead and I was driving through a rather isolated stretch of road.
But the second trip, two weeks later, was not fun at all. I should have known better. This time, I knew the storm was coming, and I tried to beat it. I did not beat it. When it hit, I was stuck on a one-lane road without a shoulder. Rain pounded my car heavily and I could not see anything, even when I slowed down to 30 mph. I took refuge in the median for a couple of minutes before I realized that this was a stupid idea. I tried driving again, attempting to pull over in areas that weren’t flooded, but was unsuccessful. Finally, the road turned back into two lanes and the shoulder continued, and I gratefully pulled over until the rain cleared a little.
When I finally reached my destination, Boyfriend was worried and upset that I had continued traveling under such bad conditions.
That same night, San Antonio had a historic flood event. The city flooded like it never had before. People were stranded. One person was killed. I thought, what if that had been me? Out on that country road, flooded, with no one nearby to help?
And so began a deep-seated fear of rain that lasted several months.
It was a little embarrassing. I don’t like being afraid of things. Everyone has fears, that is true, and I am certainly not an exception. But rain? I was never scared of rain. I can’t even remember being afraid of rain when I was little. Now I cowered when I saw a menacing cloud. I was constantly on weather.com, reviewing the radar. If I had to drive to see Boyfriend for the weekend, I would begin my radar stalking about five days in advance, then babble to Boyfriend and my mother about how there was a thirty percent chance of rain for Friday, and WHAT IF IT RAINED?
They were both very patient during my Meteorologist-On-Crack phase.
Thankfully, I no longer stalk weather.com. Rain still makes me a little nervous if it gets heavy, but it doesn’t freak me out quite as much as it might have. I had to drive through some semi-heavy rain when I was out in the field in July, and while I was definitely nervous, I was okay. Everything turned out fine. Driving through rain is fine, as long as I’m not driving through flash flood warnings again like a dumbass.
But I’ll never go back to being blithely ignorant of the weather. I just can’t now, especially since I’ve been doing field work for the past eight weeks – I have to know if it will rain so I can plan ahead (field work gets ridiculously annoying when it rains, because it slows down EVERYTHING).
And since I have been keeping up with the weather, I now know that, because of the cold front moving in from the north and the remnants of a tropical storm in Mexico moving in from the south, we are going to get a shit ton of heavy rain tomorrow and I likely won’t get to see Boyfriend until Saturday.
It is only one more night, and I’d much rather that he is cozy at home, playing his guitar or watching TV, than driving in that bad rain in the dark. I never want to drive in that kind of heavy rain again, and I definitely don’t want him to.
So I’ll be patient at home and keep an eye on the weather…but only because I don’t want to get soaked during Saturday’s run.