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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Terror in Tsukahara

Living in the mountains has been an en-“lightening” experience. We have experienced thunderstorms almost every day in August. The weather routine is predictable. A typical summer day starts out clear. As the afternoon approaches, the dark clouds peek over the rim of the Tsukahara Plateau. Soon after, the rumble of thunder can be heard in the distance. The winds pick up and the clouds quickly gather overhead. The lightning and thunder occur almost simultaneously. The ground shakes with the tremendous explosions of thunder. A deluge of rainfall soon follows, signaling the end of a short lived, but violent storm. The entire cycle lasts about two hours.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch and experience unless you’re caught in a storm. Erika went for an afternoon walk with the dogs. She was caught completely off guard. She didn’t even have an umbrella. The swiftness of the developing storm surprised everyone. Before she knew it, she was surrounded by flashes of light and explosions of thunder. She was terrified and disoriented. Up ahead, she saw a bolt of lightning strike the ground. She remembered to stay away from anything tall. She crouched down and pulled the dogs towards her. The trio trembled as the storm worsened.

Meanwhile at home, I ducked instinctively as I heard a thunderous crash from a nearby meadow. The house shook and the power went out. I hurried over to unplug the well pump. I was told that lightning could do some serious damage to a well since it’s not grounded. I proceeded to unplug everything I could think of. “Should I find Erika?” I asked myself. I didn’t know that she forgot her cell phone. I assumed that she would call me if she were in danger. When I called her, I heard her phone ring. I felt sick to my stomach.

The deluge of rain began coupled with lightning and thunder. I decided to jump in the car and to look for her. As soon as I approached the front door, I heard Erika’s voice yelling, “Kiley’s coming!’’ The trio made it back safely.   George

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