High heat and humidity can only last for so long.  Eventually the atmosphere needs to clear it all out.  As the sunshine disappeared, the air stilled and the clouds moved in.  There was just a line of light on the far shoreline, but the rest of the sky was filled with billowing clouds – grey and dark.  Their reflection in the eerie calm of the lake seemed ominous.  A few minutes later the rain started in big drops, the wind picked up, and the rain became steady giving us the much-needed moisture.

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Wind and weather 7D_1628_StaatsI hit the road this past weekend for a quick trip to the Kansas City area.  It was a time for catching up with family and celebrating my niece’s high school graduation.  We were even able to fit in an evening of pond fishing – the winds were calm, the air was warm, the sunset over the farmland was beautiful, and even the fishing was successful.  I headed back home to Minnesota yesterday, leaving Kansas City in the morning after an early thunder-storm had passed.  The sun was out and the temperature was rising, as was the humidity.  I was watching dark and threatening clouds to the north, hoping they would move east before I got to that area.  As I arrived in northern Iowa, the weather intensified to the north and east with large clouds blossoming on the horizon right along the front line.  The radio station kept interrupting with severe weather and tornado warnings to the east and the south.  When the interstate merged to one-lane and the cars started to back up, I took the first exit.  This area of northern Iowa is filled with wind turbine farms, all working to harness the power of the winds that blow across these plains.  Their height and power seemed to compliment the weather that was building in the area.  My timing was perfect as I was west of this storm system, and my time photographing allowed me to miss the heavy downpours that were to the north.  I managed to arrive home in between the storms, but with an appreciation of the power (and randomness) of Mother Nature.

Now that my wrist has healed I’m enjoying getting back on my bicycle.  And with great summer riding weather I’m slowing working to build up my mileage.  Yesterday dawned gray and cloudy with the promise of sunshine by late morning.  A quick check of the doppler radar showed rain to the north, but not a problem.  Off we headed, cycling on a route we’ve ridden many times before.  As we neared our turn-around point we were confronted with ominous black clouds.  We conferred and decided it best to turn around and head back….as quickly as possible.  As luck would have it, the dark clouds were soon enveloping us, the wind was gusting from the right, and then from the left, and the rain was starting to come down.  We knew of a couple of places we could go for protection and we pulled under the eaves of a maintenance and storage shed just as the rain cut loose.  Nearby was a marsh filled with cattails.  As they waved back and forth in the wind and rain we stayed huddled under the eaves watching the lightning, listening to the thunder, and watching the storm pass through.  Once it seemed that the rain was beginning to let up we decided to get back on our bikes and ride the remainder of the way home.  Within a half-mile of the house we found that the pavement was dry and the rain hadn’t made it that far south.  Regardless of the weather (or perhaps because of the weather) we set new personal best speeds for our route and were only slightly soaked when we pulled into home.