May 17, 2008

An Autumn Storm

Posted in Life tagged , , at 6:02 pm by Andrew McMillen

I’d spent several hours interacting with media. A casual glance out the window at 3.45pm revealed a dark storm front approaching from the west.

I pulled up the Bureau of Meteorology website. Their rainfall radars confirmed as much as I assumed: wet weather was on its way. I sent the link to my housemate, and went outside to take my dry clothes off the washing line.

It took an hour for the ominous clouds to break. As soon as they did, I shut down my computer and stepped outside to sit and watch the show.

After spending six hours immersed in the realm of technology, it was utterly disarming to witness the storm pass across and dump its contents on the earth. Ignore the manmade caricature of ‘mother nature’: this was the natural environment reacting to impossibly complex calculations and connections occurring in the atmosphere kilometres overhead.

My thoughts turned to the nature of the technology-based world in which we live. Realistically, power surges resulting from electrical storms have the potential to destroy the entire interconnected network.

In August 2005, I read in real-time what later became the Survival of New Orleans weblog. It consisted of live updates from the Directnic office in central New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and the resultant floods and disorder. It’s been preserved here for posterity, and it has its own Wikipedia article. It’s one of the most memorable blogs I’ve ever read, and it remains a fascinating study concerning human response to disaster.

The storm that I watched in silent awe passed within twenty minutes. As the rain subsided, a rainbow was left in its wake. Lightning and thunder rolled around the suburb while the last remaining sunlight of the day lit the cloud mass. This was a truly exciting experience that I relished. I pity those who chose to remain inside, oblivious.

Contrast the two shots below, which were taken at 4pm and 5pm respectively.

Indooroopilly pre-storm, 17 May 2008 Indooroopilly post-storm, 17 May 2008

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