Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Severe Thunderstorms in Manzini

Last night we had several severe thunderstorms in Manzini that were as bad or worse than any thunderstorm I have seen in Texas. They started around 5:30 or 6:00 pm. The first one was severe enough that I was prompted to unplug everything and I lost power. A little river suddenly flowed down from the primary school, through the teacher's quarters, down through the high school and then who knows where. It was over in about 30 minutes. The lights came back on, I plugged things back in and life was good. Then about 7:15 I heard what sounded like a click right outside my door (about 5 feet from where I was sitting) immediately followed by the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard. It thundered continually for almost an hour. I had a couple more of those "clicks" immediately followed by thunder. It was also raining so hard that it was coming in the front door and since my floor is uneven it was running down the wall into my bedroom. I looked up and my fan and the extension cord it was plugged into was all of a sudden sitting in water. After quickly unplugging it and everything else, the power went out again. Using a flashlight for light, I was trying to keep the water out by mopping it up as fast as it was coming in and then putting a couple of small towels at the door to try and keep it out. Exciting times. It is almost 2:00 in the morning now and it is still raining. Not as hard as it was, but it's a pretty good steady rain.

As I laid in bed thinking back on the storm and why I felt I had to tell the story, I realized that the amazing intensity of the storm was one thing. But the real reason is I remember back to when I was a little girl. I must have been in 3rd grade. My mother and I went to Antioch, Ill to take care of my grandmother for 6 weeks. I was a Sunny Southern California girl. This was back before global warming started playing havoc on the weather. One night there was a thunderstorm. I didn’t know what it was, all I knew was it started raining real hard and my mother told me to run outside quick to my grandmother’s car and roll up the windows. Now, I was always deathly afraid of the dark. I ran out to the car, and as soon as I got inside it started lightening and thundering. I was so scared all I could do was crouch down on the seats crying in fear. I don’t’ remember how I ever came out of the car and went back inside. I’m sure my mother had to come get me and I’m sure she wasn’t pleased. I just remember the dark, the noise and the fear. There is still a bit of that fear inside of me in the dark and in thunderstorms, but I’ve come along way. I acknowledge it and move on. I now know that with the help of Jesus Christ, I can do all things because he is with me and gives me strength. I drew on that strength last night when during the loud thunder, in the dark, I was not crouched in fear but doing what I could to keep the water at bay, and then I sat down and by the light of my flashlight caught up on some of my bible reading feeling absolutely at peace. Praise God!

My thoughts and prayers can't help but go out to those who live in the little mud shacks surrounded by dirt yards, roads, everything dirt and now I'm sure a sea of mud. I just can't imagine what it must be like for them. I also think of all the corn that is ripe in the fields. Corn is their main food source. I wonder if it will be ruined. I am also wondering if this rain made it down to the lower part of the country and if the rivers will flood downstream. They don't have Doppler radar here, or weather warnings and updates. You take what you get and wait to see what happens next.

So maybe this thunderstorm means a start of change in the weather from this oppressive heat to fall and cooler weather.

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