Monday, August 24, 2009

Weather Woes

It's been an odd summer in the Toronto area - unusually wet and cool. The end of August is fast approaching and, in some respects it does not feel like summer has even really arrived. I seem to recall only a handful of days since early June( when the weather starts to get really nice) that have been over 25C. I mean 20 - 25C is nice, it's just that you expect it to be much warmer. We have not had the AC on at all this summer!

I was all set to go do a wetsuit demo for Nineteen last week when the weather woes continued. I pulled into the parking lot at the Kelso Conservation Area west of Toronto in light rain. To the north - very dark clouds were forming. Just to the south - full sunshine. At the lake the rain eased off and Kelso lake was dead calm. Not a ripple on it. About 20 people were there already, and it was still 15 minutes before the start of the swim and the demo. It looked like the rough weather was going to pass us by!

Then the wind shifted and picked up dramatically. The dark clouds - now a greenish hue started to advance right towards us. In the space of a few minutes white caps had formed on the lake, and the water was actually being picked up an wiped at us standing on the shore, by huge gusts of gale force winds. Rain and lighting began to . . well . . rain down! We all scrambled for the protection of our cars. The rain then started to really fall. The wind was nuts and the lighting was insane. I have been in many storms before but I don't think I had ever experience that intensity of rain, lightening and wind all at once before. It was so bad that I could not see anything outside the car save the bursts of light from the lightening. No one attempted to leave. They could not see anything!

There was a slight easing of the intensity and people began to leave. Thank goodness we did not start early and have people out in the water. Another wave of rain came down like it was being dumped out of a bucket on my car. The car shook in the winds sitting exposed on the shore of the lake. I hunkered down to wait it out. After another 10 minutes or so, I started to drive out of the park and saw two direct hits on hydro poles by lightening within 20 meters of my car with sparks showering down all over the place.

The drive home took forever, as I was of course driving along with the storm at about the same pace as the front was advancing. Eventually, after close to 2 hours of driving I burst into sunshine and took the picture above of the ensuing rainbow.

The next day Environment Canada confirmed that tornadoes had touched down, in various places in southern Ontario - including near Milton and Kelso Conservation Area.

We have rescheduled the Nineteen Wetsuit Demo for this Thursday - Aug. 27 from 6 - 8pm at Kelso Conservation Area - more details here.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate this time!

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