Vermont Heat then Bang!

Yesterday was quite a great day for a Vermont weather geek like me.

A bank temperature sign in downtown Burlington, Vt. reads 101 degrees during the peak of yesterday's heat wave. The actual temperature was 92 degrees; the sun was affecting the sign's reading.

First we had record heat. It soared to 92 degrees in Burlington, making the day tied for the second hottest day ever in the month of May.

Then there were those thunderstorms. They formed abruptly in far northern Vermont and turned into monsters spitting a ton of lightning, quarter sized hail, winds to 70 mph and torrential downpours.

At least the air cooled down during those storms.

Last evening, I was mowing a hot, sunny lawn for a couple in Georgia, Vt. As I mowed along at about 6:45 p.m., I noticed a few little showers forming far off to the north. I figured that would help. I little cool air from those showers would be just the ticket as I finished up the lawn for the evening.

By 7:15 p.m. those innocent little showers abruptly turned into towering black clouds, spitting lightning like a science fiction monster that had just eaten a foul-tasting person.

The lawnmower ran out of gas by about 7:25. I figured the storm was still pretty far off, I could gas up, and get more of the lawn done before anything hit.

Tina, the homeowner, came out of the house, frowning at the rumbling in the sky.

“You’re not going to keep mowing, are you,?” she asked.

“I can get more done,” I said.

Just then the sky flashed with lightning again.

“I won’t let you mow anymore,” Tina said.

I admitted defeat and packed up for the night. I was hot and thirsty anyway. I started driving home, but realized the heart of the storm was heading toward the road I was just on. I saw a rolling, tumbling cloud race southward.

I turned around and headed into the maelstrom. I stopped the truck as I entered a swirling mass of hail, battering winds that rocked the truck and rain that made me feel like I was inside an out of control automatic car wash.

Here’s the vid I took:

The Burlington Free Press also has some great storm coverage.

I filmed the loud storm from inside the truck as shredded leaves and a few small branches flew past. I was in weather geek heaven.

I wanted to storm chase some more, but got caught behind a couple incredibly slow moving vehicles. The person behind the wheel of the minivan in front of me slammed on the brakes every time lightning flashed, which was every three seconds or so.

The storm ran off to the south. I gave up the chase and went home. Jeff greeted me at my door with a beer, and we went out onto the deck to view the distant lightning.

Ah, bliss.

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