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Weird/Violent Weather Stuff



There was discussion of weird weather stuff on one of the Trip Report boards, vertical thermoclines on the coast, dense fog above cold water rivers in summer and the like.

I love weird weather, especially the benign kind. But I remember violent weather most vividly.

And enjoy it up to a point, provided I can remain safe and dry, or at least safely survive undamaged. And surviving violent weather makes for vivid memories.

Encountering marble size hail and paddling for cover with gear draped over our heads as upper body protection, splashes like rifle shots impacting the water all around. Thinking “Crap, it’s getting bigger!” and hoping my demise wasn’t some grapefruit sized chuck of ice to the noggin.

A tidal night paddle when a series of violent storm cells passed upriver, one after another after another. Paddle like hell and then head for cover back in the swamp. No high ground, no dry ground, just sit in the canoes under the not-largest cypress in the swamp and hope all the foam comfort outfitting provides sufficient insulation.

And just misses. We (fortunately) departed the Adirondacks late on July 14, 1995 and drove through the beginnings of the derecho that ravaged the area. Well, we drove for a bit, until the winds threatened to rip the boats and racks off the van, even with bow, stern and belly lines, and then parked in the shelter of a substantial brick building. Even parked and in the lee the van was rocking.

Dang, jogging memory lane there are bunches. Looking in the rearview mirror during a storm 2-car trip and seeing a large tree topple across the road directly behind my wife’s car. Physically holding down tents as a last resort. Overlong spells of being windbound.

Got a weird or violent weather story?
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
Sure. In the Boundary Waters circa 1973. Rained most of the time for five days. Finally sun came out. In those uninformed days our wardrobe was mostly jeans and sweats. We spread all the icky stuff out on a rock to dry.

The canoe was up on shore about ten feet from the lake; it was a 70 lb Grumman. Put the tent up, turned around and saw a wall of water coming at us at high speed. Accompanied by high winds that broke the tent pole (center mount) for about ten terrifying minutes. We lost the boat and the clothes were in the woods. We fortunately were unhurt. We were able to walk the shoreline and swim to the boat.

Another time Forked Lake in the Adirondacks. 1980. Camped at a boat in campsite. Storm hit uprooting many trees and dropping a big pine between our tent and the kids tent. There was little room for error. I was pretty sure my children were dead. They were fine but crying. People in the next campsite were hunkered down in the tent. They had a portable phonograph and box wine. As the storm got closer they turned up the volume and poured more wine. They were completely deaf to the tree that smashed their lawn chairs and picnic table at their campsite.

Derecho.. about seven years ago snapped off some two dozen really tall pine tops (over 100 feet tall). Tops destroyed four cars and trucks, including a 2 week old $40,000 truck( Titan wound up about waist height). Trees entirely missed the ecocorrect Prius.
Jul 31, 2011
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Northern Wisconsin
On July 27, 2010, a fellow solo camper and I met on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in northern Wisconsin. We were hit by a tornado which wiped out most of the campsites across from west to east and did a whole lot of property damage around the Springstead area of the flowage. Many of the campsites were closed forever as a result. We were camped on a small island which lost around 30 to 40 percent of the standing trees, which fell in every direction during the storm. My tent was pretty well destroyed by falling debris but my friend's tent was undamaged. (I was inside his tent as mine was crushed before I could get to it when the storm hit.) A lot of my gear was lost or destroyed and my canoe was tossed all over the island but was undamaged. Trees were down all around my truck parked at Fisherman's Landing, but pretty much missed it except for totaling my topper. I had to cut a path to drive out from the landing parking area.

There is a lot more to the story, but I'll add more details at a later date.

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