Rain Storm in Wickenburg

Not much to talk about.

It rained today. For those readers who live in places where rain is a part of life, you might be wondering why I’ve taken the time to write about it.

But rain isn’t a part of life here in the Sonoran desert of Arizona. Rain is usual. Rain is special. Rain is something to look forward to and enjoy.

The rain came with a strange kind of storm. The day started out clear enough, after high winds last night blew the desert dust around. The dust was hanging in the air this morning when it got light. The same dust we’ve been looking at for the past few days.

It’s spring and wind is part of spring. Calm in the morning, windy in the afternoon, then calm in the evening and overnight.

But last night, the wind didn’t calm down. Our wind chimes tinkled vigorously all night long. We had the windows closed to keep the dust out, so they weren’t loud enough to keep us up.

This morning, it was still windy. But then it got calm. And then it got windy. Calm. Windy. Calm. Windy.

Make up your mind already!

At 10 AM, I left my desk and went into the kitchen to make breakfast. Although I’m usually up before 6 AM and have my coffee right away, I don’t have breakfast until midmorning. And when I reached the kitchen with its southwest-facing windows, I realized that a storm was on the way.

Windy, calm, windy, calm. What a strange day. I watched the hazy, dust-filled sky cloud over from my northeast-facing office window. At lunchtime, back in the kitchen, I saw that the storm was closer.

Oddly enough, my neighbor’s windmill was calm. So was my other neighbor’s windsock.

The calm before the storm?

I went outside and threw my MR-2’s old car cover over my Jeep. I still haven’t put the doors and windows on the darn thing and I didn’t want to get it soaked.

A while later, the wind kicked up again. Howling this time. The palm tree branches I’d cut off our little palm tree days before blew around the yard as a dust devil came through. I went outside to check the Jeep and was surprised to see that the cover was still stretched over it.

I let the dog in.

The rain started a while later. Drizzle then pouring then drizzling. Not enough volume to keep the pavement wet; certainly not enough to get the wash flooding — a good thing, since the horses were down there. The rain cycle went on like that for a while. I checked the radar images on my Radar In Motion widget. The storm was all around me, moving in from the west.

But never enough rain to really get the pavement wet.

We have a problem here in Arizona. It’s often so dry that when it rains, the rain evaporates before it hits the ground. People think I’m kidding when I say this, but I’m not. It’s called virga. Look it up.

Sometimes, even when the rain does reach the ground, it dries before more drops can join it. The drops appear on the pavement, but dry before more drops fall around it. So the pavement doesn’t get wet. That’s what was happening today. Very disappointing.

But when I poked my head outside, I smelled the rain. A nice, fresh smell. The smell of water on the creosote bushes. A smell so unique that the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix has an exhibit that simply sprays water on creosote branches so people can smell it.

I kept working. The storm passed through. It got quiet.

When the UPS man arrived, I went outside. The pavement was dry.

To the north, I could see the mountains again. The radar showed the storm had moved to the east.

The storm was past. The rain was over.

Now I’ll have to wait again for the next storm. I hope it’s better than this one was.

What do you think?