Well, I was trying to get home from my talk in Stillwater (more about that later), but the weather did not cooperate. We’re having one of those spectacular midwestern summer storms — a watery deluge, non-stop lightning so close and so bright it blinded me, a threat of tornados, etc. Since I couldn’t go faster than 10mph on the freeway, visibility was nonexistent, and word was that the storm was traveling in exactly the same direction I was, I decided maybe I should bag this travel stuff and found a no-name motel somewhere. If you hear that Clearwater, MN was demolished by tornados overnight … that’s me.

The weather is much more fun when you aren’t driving in it.


  1. Brian says

    I love a good storm. Nature can really serve it up. Awesome. Or alternatively, you’re getting your comeupance for being a devil worshipper….

  2. says

    Now that you’ve revealed your location, aren’t you worried that God’s prayer warriors will converge on your position?

  3. dave says

    This reminds me of my first trip through Pennsylvania. It started to rain so hard that I gave up on driving and just took the first exit with a motel sign. Checked in and went to my room. Took a look at the tourist promotional brochure and discovered that my refuge from the torrential downpour was in … Johnstown, PA. Ha!

  4. foldedpath says

    I miss lightning. I grew up in south Florida, one of the big lightning strike areas. I can remember things like having to wait inside the car in a parking lot, hearing (and seeing) strikes all around… trying to time it, so we could run out from the car to shelter.

    We moved to the Pacific Northwest (way west of Seattle, across Puget Sound) a few years ago, and it’s just not the same. What they call “rain” out here is just a constant falling mist, compared to Florida, where rain means something that POUNDS on your head. And in the rare, really rare event of a “boom” in the distance, it’s like… oh yeah, that’s what thunder sounds like. I almost forgot.

  5. says

    You probably passed within a few minutes of our place. There’s plenty of room on the futon, and Cat is still hiding under the bed so she wouldn’t bother you.

  6. beccarii says

    I SO much wish that it had missed you and happened here, about 50 miles south. We’re fried. The near-complete absence of mosquitoes this summer has been a mixed blessing (a normally unlikely statement from me, rest assured).

  7. Kseniya says

    A little bit of cheetah snot rubbed into the tire treads makes a car go faster, you know.

  8. Mac says

    Be sure to get your breakfast at the big truck stop. Don’t let the Xian fish on the signs fool you — the food is great. If you’re in more of a hurry, don’t fear; they have a full bakery and sandwich shop too. Don’t go to Keith’s Kettle, the food isn’t that great.

  9. says

    You’ve been tagged: The Bayblab is proud to host the first ever blog carnival on cancer research. A blog carnival is an event where a community of bloggers come together to explore a common subject of interest. Not only does it create a tool to exchange ideas, but it is a good way to exchange links and increase readership. The rules are simple, write a post about any aspect of cancer research, for example where you see your field contributing to cancer treatment in the future, and submit a link to your story to the comment section of this post ( by August 24th. Also, please copy and paste this message to the comment sections of as many relevant blogs as you can. Let the fun begin!

  10. mndarwinist says

    Everyone has said it, PZ. It’s all your own fault, you didn’t pray.
    Makes me miss central Minnesota, where I used to live until recently, even less.

  11. Glenn says

    Our late spring this year in Texas was just like that. I remember one drive home from work everyone had to drive in the left lane because the center concrete barrier was the only thing visible besides maybe pairs of headlights or taillights to a range of 15 feet. Then there were the scallywags with no lights on, who made things even more interesting.

  12. says

    The most terrifying experience of my life was when I was alone in my cousin’s apartment during a tornado, about a week after arriving in Ohio. I had the local news on TV, and it had a map showing which way the tornado was heading, but I didn’t know where I was on the map… it ended up touching down about half a mile away. My cousin came running through the door in the middle of the storm (just as I was heading for a closet), screaming at me to open the windows and get in the bathtub with a mattress over me… not fun. We don’t have weather like that in England. We have grey skies, not green or orange ones.

  13. HP says

    Tornados are the escaped, knife-wielding maniacs of weather phenomena. They show up out of nowhere, follow no perceptible plan, and come back to life after you think they’re dead. And you do not want to be out on a country road after dark and hear about one on the radio.

    Movie monsters and urban legends don’t scare me — I watched the sky turn green on April 3, 1974.

    Glad you’re home safe, PZ.

  14. autumn says

    foldedpath beat me to it. The weather described by PZ is known in Florida as “four in the afternoon, from June until September”.