Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rumble in the Distance

Surprisingly enough Southwest Asia is a pretty good place to play outdoor volleyball in the spring and fall. The temps are generally warm enough and there isn't much rain, so you can get in some good time playing.

We were out one day enjoying such a fine spring afternoon in the sun in our volleyball pit. The temperature was a nice 85 degrees or so, with a slight breeze to keep you from getting too hot.

We'd been playing for a couple hours when we noticed the wind was starting to pick up a little, but nothing too bad. So we keep playing. Then there was a gust of wind and the temperature dropped probably a good 10 to 15 degrees. As we stood there wondering what the heck was going on we noticed a line of clouds in the south that appeared to be moving toward us. As time was quickly moving now, and the temperature was still dropping we decided now would be a good time to vacate the volleyball pit and head back to our tents.

Just as we get to our tents the sky turned really dark and scary. Then way off in the distance you could hear this kind of low rumble.

The rumble moves closer and closer to us, and I for one was getting a little freaked out.

The tents we were living in weren't made of the sturdiest materials and they were pretty old at this point. The wind was still blowing pretty good, and steady now, and it was getting darker and that rumble was getting louder.

Then the dust started to kick up. Kind of freaky when the dust is blowing so hard you can't see but about 20 feet away, and that rumble was really loud now.

That's when we saw the first piece of hail. Nothing too bad just about a dime sized piece. As I was standing there wondering at the sight of a dime sized piece of hail in the Saudi Arabian desert, another comes down, then another...and pretty soon the rumble is on top of us. It was so loud we could barely make each other out as we yelled to one another.

Now the hail is coming down steady. Ranging in size from pea to about quarter size, and down the row we hear some poor schmuck that has decided instead of getting in any available overhang that he is going to try to make it his tent.

This poor dude is getting wailed on by Nature and yelling and cussing and screaming all at the same time.

We start yelling at him to get in the tent and stop running, but he just lowered his head, growled at us and continues on down the row until he faded out of sight in the hale and dust.

Not sure how long the storm lasted, probably not more than 5 minutes but maybe as much as 10. But when it was done the clouds cleared away, the sun came back out and the ground was covered in at least 4 inches of hail and ice. We found some that was as big as an orange. But we learned from then on that if the temp drops in's not a good thing, and you better find you some shelter.

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