Summer Thunderstorms

Big clouds billow up over the hill behind the house. They begin talking to themselves with low rumbles of thunder. Summer thunderstorms are moving in.

The weather forecast is for scattered showers. This means it depends on which cloud sails overhead whether or not rain falls. Talking clouds coming over the hill behind the house will probably rain here.

thunderhead clouds building
As thunderstorm cumulus clouds pile up, they can take many shapes. I see a creature in the center. Do you? The colors vary from blinding white to deep blue.

In the winter into spring great sheets of clouds slide over the sky. They take days to go past and often leave rain behind.

In the summer there are no great storm systems. Instead humidity rises up until the water vapor becomes tiny water droplets in a cloud. These pile up higher and higher to form fanciful cumulus clouds.

summer thunderstorms turn the sky black
Serious thunderheads are thick, blocking out the sun. A bright sunny day settles into shadow and can become as dark as late dusk as the clouds cover the sky.

These are the puffy clouds forming parades of pictures as they sail across the sky. Dragons, goats, rocs, people, whatever the mind can imagine can be found in their shifting shapes.

When these build up into huge gray into black mountains, summer thunderstorms are forming. The wind rises. The temperature drops. It’s time to run for cover.

Each cloud is separate even though they travel in groups. One cloud may drop curtains of huge drops for ten or fifteen minutes while its neighbor sails by dropping nothing.

Fifteen minutes may not seem like a long time. But the rain may amount to half an inch or more.

summer thunderstorms leaving
As the storm clouds blow away, they again take on fanciful shapes. The air is washed clean, crystal clear. The trees look closer and sharper.

When the thunderheads join forces, a simple summer storm may be much more. Lightning with its accompanying thunder lights up a world turned dark as late evening. Hail may pelt the ground. And rain too heavy to see across to the pasture can bring sudden high water to the creek.

Summer thunderstorms often move through late in the day. As the storm runbles off to the east, the setting sun can light up the sky with a rainbow. Maybe a double or triple rainbow forms.

This storm is over. Tomorrow may bring another.

Follow a thunderstorm in “Exploring the Ozark Hills.”