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Thunder, Lightning — No Grapefruit-Sized Hail

The end of the world — or a little sideways rain? All photos by Andy Knef.

So yesterday, late afternoon, the dark clouds rolled in like the end of the world and everyone on the HottyToddy.com staff dropped what they were doing to step outside for a closeup look.
That’s what you do when you think possible killer tornadoes are rushing down West Jackson like Jeremy Liggins trying to convert a fourth-and-one. I know — you should seek shelter immediately. Everybody climb in the bath tub, stuff yourself in the closet or lay flat in the middle of the field after you run the hell away from that trailer you’ve been living in since you left Mama’s house. You know, the one with the big bull’s eye on the roof that twisters look for every time.
But what do most of you really do? You do like college interns, young reporters and me, and old cynical editor, did yesterday. You go outside and look up — searching for that funnel cloud to come tumbling out of the sky that would send you sprinting to the storm basement, if you had one. I lived in St. Louis for 30 years and we had a bunch of tornadoes. One destroyed half the neighborhood I lived in once and left the other half — my half — completely unscathed.
There almost seems to be an element of Divine Retribution with tornadoes — but that’s just an imaginative impression, not sound theology in the least.
Weird colors but no golf ball-sized hail — or baseball-sized. Just some thunder and lightning.

Still, when the sky is all weird colors like yesterday, and the wind is swirling everything on the parking lot floor into the atmosphere, and yet, at the same time, amid the motion, the air smells still and ominous, like something epic and final is about to happen, I look up and squint my eyes.  For an instant, I expect to see the Lord riding the rain down on a chariot of fire cleaving those churning thunderheads to bring us all home.
You ever think that’s going to happen when you watch a thunder storm? You think I’ve watched to many episodes of that goofy HBO show “The Leftovers?”
It didn’t happen yesterday. I didn’t even see any golf-sized hail — or grapefruit-sized, or… nothing. Just wind and darkness in the middle of the day, and some sideways rain and some excited, nervous HottyToddy.com staff members. But it was a nice diversion. And it was good enough reason for me to get my camera out and take some photos.
The rain was awesome — and then it was back to work.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think you should absolutely take cover immediately like the weather folks say on TV. To be fair, I never heard any mention of twisters yesterday — but then we don’t have a TV at HT.com to tell us about the weather. We fly strictly without instruments — except for our Apple computers. They don’t have sirens.
Speaking of Weather Persons. Ever wonder why they’re always standing out there holding on for dear life to a telephone pole during the storm of the century while they tell us to hurry to our safe rooms? Sure, ratings.
Just like I’m hoping these photos will get HottyToddy.com some clicks. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it pays the rent … at my duplex, where I have no safe room.
Andy Knef is editor of HottyToddy.com. He loves thunder storms and has never taken cover once, but he’s not bragging. You can contact him about this story at Andy.knef@HottyToddy.com.

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