If You Don't Like The Weather...

By: Bob Trihy
By: Bob Trihy

It's a worn out weather cliche that seems to stand the test of time.

It seems every place I've lived everybody thinks their state has the most changeable weather. "If you don't like the weather...just wait (fill in the blank). I've heard that one I don't know how many times. The answers range from 5 minutes...to two days...depending on the state of course. I think every state wants to claim they have the most changeable weather. I do have to say that living in the mountain west I saw some incredible fluctuations in the weather in a short amount of time. The most rapid weather changes occur in the mountains and with the gain in elevation snow is always a possibility..even in the summer.  I went on an afternoon mountain bike ride in the Tetons of Wyoming..it  was a nice summer afternoon...with some cumulus clouds building... nothing all that bad...right. Wrong. The higher you climb in elevation the more the weather seems to change... and quick. We started around 8,000 feet and were headed for near 10,000 feet. The cumulus clouds turned into cumulus congestus..then full blown thunderheads....and we were nearing the top of the mountain. The clouds were just flying by and darkening by the second. When I was out in the middle of a mountain meadow with thunder and lightning everywhere....I knew we had gone too far. And broke the big rule of thunderstorm safety. Keeping a low profile in lightning. I was exposed to the elements and that was when the rain and hail came pelting down. The temperature must have dropped from the 60s into the 40s in a matter of minutes. The deluge of hail and rain made for a perilous decent...in open terrain..worse yet. I guess your adrenaline gets going enough and you don't care how wet and cold you are...you just want to find some shelter...and eventually we did find some cover at a lower elevation. Eventually the storm passed and the sun came out brilliantly. Mountain weather changes so quickly because they create micro-climates...which makes it tough for forecasters. So if you truly want to see the weather change in a hurry head out west into the Rockies. Obviously the higher you go..this increases the chance for quickly changing weather. And when you go above 11,000 feet...it can do anything at anytime...with snow chances all year round at that elevation. While living in eastern Carolina our weather changes take a couple of days usually...it is impressive that one week ago we were talking about a cold rain changing to snow......and today we're around 80 degrees inland. That's still a pretty impressive turnaround. Oh well... welcome to March.

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