Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stormy Night...

Today I've spent a bit of time marvelling at the astonishing photographers in my general area of the world. They had a field day depicting the meteorlogical wonders we coastal British Columbians were privy to last night.

We had a doozy of a storm -- the sky began to cloud, and the sun dropped behind as if going to set -- and then all hell broke loose.

At least, I always picture hell as having an orange sky. Am I wrong?

As soon as the she sky took on the weird tinge I ran for my camera. [None of these pictures are retouched in any way...]

You can see there is still a tinge of blue showing through the clouds in this shot.

The last time I had seen a sky that colour was driving up Highway 2 towards Red Deer in Alberta last summer. I was on a book tour with author James McCann. He was driving and I was riding shotgun, and taking pictures of the weird sky. We were going at a good clip (In his misspent youth, James was one of the street racing founders in Winnipeg, after all...) but we couldn't get over how all the big rigs were roaring past us, at speeds of 150 km/h and faster. Wasn't until we got to Red Deer that we found out we'd passed under a tornado, just before it formed a funnel.

That's what you get for listening to loud music instead of the radio...

Anyway, back to last night. The sky rapidly changed from under-ripe tangerine to full-on fire orange. The wind swirled and rain torrented.

It started to hail. This one looked just like a wintergreen lifesaver -- hollow in the centre.

Then suddenly the rain and weird hail stopped. The wind stopped.

I ran out under the umbrella to get this odd shot of a rainbow in an orange sky.

The lightning began. It had been rumbling and flashing in the distance, but it started in earnest. I didn't have a tripod and my camera battery began to fail, but you can see how the sky turned electric blue after each strike. We were getting lightning strikes around us every 2-5 seconds for well over an hour.

The sky stayed this colour until night fell. A strange and beautiful sight. And for two hours after dark, the lightning continued to dance.

When I looked up the radar screen for the weather on-line, it looked to me like Vancouver had missed the worst of the storm. I was thankful for this, because I knew how many people were looking forward to both the Illuminata lantern festival and the fireworks display.

But as you'll see below, I was wrong. The storm did hit Vancouver. But did it spoil the fireworks?
A timelapse view from above the Burrard bridge...

[a tip of the hat to Darren Barefoot and others for the link]


Edited to add: HERE is the link to my flickr page with a larger selection of images

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was at English Camp on San Juan Island celebrating the 150th of the Pig War. Royal Marines, HBC, US troops & fine ladies crammed into the original barracks. Then the lightening came. The sky was just as weird there as the ones you showed. Slept in my canvas tent, but only after the storm went through and the thunder was miles away.