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Hitting the Storm
Posted Aug 15, 2011 - 9:26:20

On Saturday, Crysta and I woke up early and got in the car and drove to Ohio to visit her family. Her Sister has been out there for quite a while (along with associated husband and children obviously), and her father recently moved down to that area. With her brother Nick also visiting them, it seemed dumb for us not to go. So we hit the road in the morning and drove the three hours to see them.

And that's not what this blog entry is about.

We decided rather than get a hotel room or crash in someone's spare room, we'd just drive back to Lafayette that night. The drive itself isn't a bad one (even if it's not short), so it seemed like a sensible idea. A little before 9:00pm we got back in our little Nissan Versa and hit the road. At the gas station in Ohio, I pulled up Google Maps and checked our route. On the screen was a weather alert for Lafayette. I laughed at it.

I shouldn't have.

The first part of the drive (which involves quite a few country highways) was fine. On the horizon though, as we got closer to Indiana, we saw a storm raging. I'm not used to living in flat areas, so seeing a storm from that far away was a pretty impressive sight... but it was an impressive sight we were heading straight for.

It was dark as we crossed into Indiana on I-70. The rain hadn't started, but the front was heading straight towards us. Winds picked up and began to punch the sides of the tiny Versa. I've driven in high winds before, but nothing like this. The Semi Truck in front of me began to sway back and forth between the lanes. It moved in front of me to avoid hitting a semi which was at a complete stop in the right lane.

Our speed was 25 miles per hour, and there was no traffic. It was purely because it was impossible to control the car at a higher speed. I got off the highway at the first possible exit.

It was then the rain started, still light at first. We pulled into the parking lot of a Super 8 in Centerville, and I pulled out my iPad. Using the slow Edge connection I could muster, I loaded up the radar map of the storm. It was moving quickly, and the heaviest area was headed straight at us.

That's when the heavy blatting of a fierce rain splattered across the ground.

Waves of rain slammed the parked Versa, and winds ripped across the wet pavement. The change in air pressure must have been dramatic. We sat in the car, as Crysta and I tried to figure out how fast the storm was moving: whether we should push through it or get a room at the motel for the night.

Fortunately, the storm was moving quickly enough that even though the rain continued, the winds ended. The pressure shift of the front had moved past us, and the car no longer shook. After a good forty-five minutes of sitting in a parking lot, we put the car back into gear and pulled back onto the highway. The going was slow for a while, but at 1:00am, an hour later than we'd planned to get home, we pulled into our Apartment building parking lot.

So yeah, that happened.

Edit: I have since realized this was the same front that caused the stage collapse in Indianapolis earlier that evening. Yikes.
- Traegorn

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