August 110° F; Rain during August-Never until Today.

I thought it was hot outside yesterday, the temperature is a bit hard to determine, we live in an isolated area rarely mentioned during the evening weather report. My weather station read 114° F (45.55° C) which was not accurate for ground level, it’s set up on the roof. The actual temperature was around 104° F. (40° C). But today (Sunday) the weather station on the roof read 119° F (48.33° C) it was in reality on the ground 110° F (43.33° C). I haven’t been in these temperatures for a long time, believe it or not in my home state of Minnesota about 5 years ago. Twenty years ago in the desert it was a common occurrence.

This morning, Sunday August 16, 2020 Mrs. Lebec and I were roused from sleep at 5:30 by bright lights flashing in our bedroom window. My original thought was someone was on the slough or Levee with a bright spotlight; there must be an emergency. I went to the window to be greeted by an endless display of heat lightening flashing across the sky over the mountains. I got dressed to find Mrs. Lebec ahead of me by leaps and bounds, I set up my video camera while she made the coffee (the most important task). Meeting on the back deck we have an unbeatable view of the Diablo Range which are 40 miles or so East of San Francisco. I recorded until my battery went dead only to find when I inserted my spare it was also dead; so much for sending something to channel 4.

Already 75° F (23.88° C) the air was burdened with static electricity, “it’s earthquake weather,” she told me between sips of coffee. “It looks like rain.” was my reply as the wind picked up.

We watched as lightening made a ground strike starting a wildfire on top of a foothill then disappeared down the far side. Showing flames as they rose high enough to clear the peak it was spreading. Heavy white fluffy smoke was increasing as it rose higher into the morning sky; luckily the wind died again just then. I continued with the video attempting to capture all I was able until the battery died. The fire was spreading after appearing to have died out, the smoke was merely blending in with the overcast sky. A full rainbow formed, arcing the entire Western sky the end was visible but I could not see the pot o’ gold even with the aide of my binoculars.

It began to rain, it never rains in California during the month of August, never. July it does on occasion, the last rain we received was during the month of May; which is normal. It began to sprinkle causing us to hope watering the garden would not be needed, but it was a whimper of a rain fall. The wind was gusting to 30 mph, then completely dying while swirling and changing directions. The rain became harder until it was a heavy rain with the wind from out of the storm direction, South. It was a good rain, then of course the electrical service went out.

Someone on the Coconut Telegraph would know what had happened, I suspected a transformer blew the top of a pole apart. I texted our trusty next door neighbor, she knows everything; or rather tells us anything. That’s alright that she does, somehow her accuracy is impeccable, this time she was off by 2 hours. The utility reported the service would be back at 5pm, it was 7am when I read the message. “We will roast to death,” Mrs. Lebec lamented. “Think cool, it’s all in your head.”I relied; she was making me hot already. “If the rain continues we’re going to have a Minnesota August day.” She’s from upstate New York and knows exactly what I was talking about, high humidity and high temperatures.

The rain stopped at 8:30am, the wind was dying and the clouds cleared, the temperature was rising. Noon arrived already 100° F, (37.77° C), the refrigerator was warming rapidly; with hamburgers thawed we decided they better be cooked on the grill to save them. Dinner was enjoyed early however there was no escaping the heat, we finished at 2:30pm, 2-1/2 hours left to wait. She went to the first floor, I went to the second to wait it out. To our surprise power was regained at 3:30pm, the PG&E linesmen worked themselves in the heat for our sake.

Tonight and tomorrow have the possibility to be a repeat performance, oh well it is August. Well it was August anyway, now that it rained I’m not real sure if it is. I know this weather is minor compared to other parts of the country, indeed the world, but the surprise factor is what’s at play today in California.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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