East of Niwot, Colorado, at the edge of Hwy 25, I may have experienced the early wisps of the powerful storm known as a “derecho.”
My friend Maria Gutierrez and I had just gotten out of the car to enter a coffee joint when a few raindrops began to hit us. We noted this as welcome coolness from the ongoing heat.
A couple of moments later, as we were choosing a table to sit at, the building we’d entered was suddenly slammed with crazy howling winds slinging rain and mud. The winds were so strong that men could not open the glass doors inward against the pressure. We were all trapped inside the building. (Of course, we did have coffee, so this could be worse.)
Out the other window, the one toward the freeway, we could see things flying by. Lots of things; large things. I was glad we were no longer driving in my little car – it could easily have been pushed across the highway into the other lanes by that intense wind. The sky looked dark and striated, like films I’d seen about tornado weather.
After awhile when the winds had passed, the first new people coming in commented, “What on earth happened to this building?” I went outside to look. Both the entire building and all of the cars outside, including mine, were absolutely covered in thick mud. Wild!
Later, I read in the news that an enormous storm had caused a state of emergency across a wide swath of the U.S. on June 29, 2012. Called a “derecho,” it was said to have spanned from the midwest on to Washington D.C. – but I think we got the beginnings of it in Colorado. I have certainly never seen anything like it before.
Above is a photo of the storm in its glory from NWS meteorologist Samuel Shea. More images and videos can be seen here: http://bit.ly/OQnljC