Monsoon Damage

The August 28 monsoon has turned out to be one of the worst in recent history, perhaps extended history. A condo building in downtown Phoenix lost its roof, several trees were uprooted, and a friend of mine caught a pic of a palm tree flattening a car near ASU. Add to this that the 100 mile/hour winds in parts of the city rivaled a Category 1 hurricane and well, you’ve got a city in shambles.

The following photos came from here.


The aforementioned building roof.

I have some pics I took myself that I’ll upload later…but this just gives you an idea of the kind of fury we’re subject to in “the land without natural disasters.”

Back in the (602)

When I left Maryland yesterday it was raining. Torrential rain during the tail end of rush hour is basically the equivalent of rush hour. I got Arden to the pet hotel without incident and made it to the airport on time, and then spent five hours inside the fuselage of a jet waiting to get home.

I got all my tying-up-moving errands done right away: closed bank accounts, got Beau to cut my hair. And then, in the night, there was a monsoon. Torrential rains. Trees blew out of the ground, palm fronds littered the freeways, and then there was the flooding, the road awash in several inches of standing water while a group of cars huddled together.

This morning, I saw a golf course covered in four feet of water. It looked like a manicured water feature, man made, and so common here.

Today: hot and humid. 99 degrees and tons of humidity. And people back East ask me how I like the weather there. I say, unless it’s raining or about to rain, there’s really not much difference.

Monsoon Roadtrip

Stages of an Arizona monsoon, while driving in it:


Stage One: Threat Level Alpha
The skies darken ominously. High winds try to toss the car across the road.


Stage Two: Assault
Fat drops of rain begin to pelt the car.


Stage Three: Wading
The roads begin to puddle over. Traffic slows.


Stage Four: White Out
The black sky has changed but nothing is truly visible in this light.


Stage Five: Revelations
You turn the radio off because you can’t hear it anyway. Jesus reaches for a life preserver.


Stage Six: Equilibrium
The clouds slink off to do their dirty work elsewhere.

Total elapsed time of monsoon: 15 minutes.

PS. Humidity level today = 55%!! *dies*

Kansas, 1935

Beau looked out the window and said, “Oh my God, the trees are doing this,” and he took his hand, flat palmed, and moved it from a vertical position to a horizontal one in a quick gesture.

We looked out the window. The lights across the parking lot were subdued into a moon-like glow, as though someone placed a thin layer of Vaseline across the lenses of our eyes, or as if we were the kind of men who suffered cataracts or macular degeneration. There was no one in the parking lot, just lines of cars huddled shoulder to shoulder under the corrugated metal carports.

The cat danced onto the coffee table, and Arden shuffled around nervously, watching her.

“It’s a dust storm,” Beau said finally. The palm trees bent so far to the side it seemed they would snap, their thin trunks too lean to withstand the force of the wind.

I opened the patio door and stepped outside. The air was still warm, but the strong wind was doing its best to cool the night. The shaking leaves made a collective sound like rushing water, a preamble to the monsoon we knew was coming. Off in the distance I heard the first warnings of thunder.

I needed rain. I needed something uncontrollable to hit me, without apology, and then to leave. I wanted to have something I could remember.