Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Stormy Weather

The weather here is very changeable. Hourly. And it isn't uncommon to have rain in the front yard and not the back yard. Note the picture. This was from a storm that blew through Monday afternoon after a very sunny morning. It had some lightning and thunder but mostly big fat gusts of wind and these roiling clouds that are only partially done justice by this picture. The kids at Cooper's school all saw the sky and started saying,

"Whoa! Those are tornado clouds!"

...which was my thought exactly, except we don't apparently get tornadoes (or hurricanes, or earthquakes) here. And it didn't have that dread-inducing green tinge that punctuated my childhood in our tornado-ridden chunk of Illinois. After the clouds rolled over us, it rained buckets for about four hours, which was hell on our dirt street and the dirt streets we have to travel to get home from almost anywhere. I think it's the most rain we have had at one time since we got here.

There are conflicting views about the 'rainy season' here. Some say June through August, some say there are two- late May to late July (what they call "winter", even though we are a smidge north of the equator) and then September-November. I'm in the second camp. When we arrived in June it was considerably cooler and less humid than when I was here in March/April househunting. At night we frequently wore jeans with our sleeveless shirts and even carried the odd sweater. This "winter" during June, July, and August is when you are most likely to see Ghanaians in jackets and long sleeved shirts. I kid you not- we have seen at least a dozen local people here in lightweight parkas at night. But we have also seen more actual rain since September than we did all summer (June/July/August- local seasonal designations notwithstanding).

Since about three weeks ago, though, the weather has taken a definite turn for the warmer- more humid, sunnier days, higher temps. The water in the pool is noticeably warmer, although a good cloudy day will help cool it off pretty fast. We wear long pants less often at night, and the dogs are more anxious to get back into the air conditioned house instead of lollygagging around outside looking for ear scratches and bigger lizards.

The Weather Underground site online is happy to give me a weather report for Accra, and it's actually slightly more accurate than it was in Houston, but that isn't saying much. And they don't have any weather satellites over our little corner of the planet, so I've been forced to confront my satellite radar addiction and enter rehab for it. I never realized how obsessively I watched storms move through Texas until I found myself trying to find my Weather Sat Radar picture for Ghana and was repeatedly told there was no such animal. So now I'm living in a pretty constant state of Weather Surprise, with no Weather Channel, no satellite, no infrared vapor data, nada. I am going to lose my Weather Nerd status.

Perhaps that isn't a bad thing.