Growing up in New Jersey suburbia, with three boys separated by a total of five years, plus a younger sister, we boys often got a command from our mother: “Go outside and play.” If we answered back with “But it’s raining,” The rejoinder was “You’ve been wet before.”
Which was true. We lived in a town that would in time become a bedroom suburb of 30,000, but at that time was a hamlet of maybe 5,000 containing abandoned farms gone to woodland, crisscrossed by old stone walls, dotted by depressions that had been root cellars, and wetted by creeks, springs and ephemeral (‘vernal’) ponds. Of course we got wet. How else could you catch frogs? We also got scratched by branches, fell out of trees, and suffered poison ivy mightily. There were broken limbs. There were stitches.
Even constrained to the yard (“Don’t go anywhere, dinner soon.”) we still managed to get adventurously hurt, for there was stilt walking, unicycle riding, a tightrope wire set (low) between two trees, etc. Hatchet throwing, knife throwing and ninja stars were hard on trees, but luckily, we managed to avoid bloody messes. Mostly. My index finger fingerprint has a line through the center, dating back some 50-ish years. Trying to wiggle a knife out of a tree truck, it would have been wise to realize that the blade was sharp on both sides, all the way to the hilt.
|Debris jammed at bridges forced the flood waters |
over the banks, to gather more debris, to jam at
the next bridge. (Waverly, TN 2021)
Rain at that furious rate can happen two ways. One is a cold front displacing a warm air mass, creating a line of thunderstorms moving fast, typically without serious flooding. A second is hot and humid air rising until it reaches colder air tens of thousands of feet higher, where it condenses to rain and falls. If these cumulonimbus clouds happen to be completely stationary rather than lumbering across the countryside, all the rain falls in one place.
|August 1955: Hurricane Diane. View of the Assabet River |
from the Main Street bridge, flooding into the mill buildings
(Courtesy Maynard Historical Society)
At 10.07 inches for July, this was the second-wettest July for Boston; and the wettest for Worcester, at 13.85 inches of rain. August was abnormally rainy, and September started with 4.0 inches for Maynard from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. This could be a record year for precipitation.
What’s the difference between raining and pouring? When it’s raining, your hair gets wet. When’s pouring your underwear gets wet.