The Lay of the Land

I left work way before I needed to yesterday. It was sunny most of the afternoon and storms didn’t really start rolling in until 3:30 or so. And then, everything went south of me or north. It came up 40, cut across the south side of downtown, hit 40 again and went east. The Butcher had hail at work, but we didn’t here. Even the severe squall line thunderstorms that hit northern Davidson County stayed up on the ridge.

I have decided that there’s something about the lay of the land that affects how the weather gets to Whites Creek. It’s become obvious in my time here that our most dangerous weather comes from Ashland City. The tornado warning we had that ended up with all the trees in a suspicious looking line all getting sheared off about twenty feet up came from the northwest. When the cedar blew down in the back yard, it’s top ended up pointing south east.

This isn’t to say that I’m complacent in storms like yesterday, but I guess looking at them, I realized that there’s a way that storms operate like breakers. The wave can be moving from the south west but the individual break can be moving from the north west and thus that’s dangerous for us. But the southeast movement has to be long enough to get down the ridge in order for that to happen.

But I think there’s something about how the hills are situated that funnels weather up 40 (40 going where the hills are lowest, for obvious reasons) and then through downtown or just south of downtown where it’s flattest. But our hills here in Whites Creek seem to shelter us from a lot of southwest weather. I’m sure a strong enough storm could overcome that. It’s not like the hills are that high.

But I was looking, too, at how many of the places that got hit yesterday are places that have been hit before. Some of them in Alabama were places that got hit just last year. And I definitely wonder, in that case, if it’s because, a storm coming in from the west that isn’t below Birmingham isn’t likely to be able to get south of Birmingham, but is almost always just going to swoop through those same cities that always get hit by storms, because the bottom end of the Appalachians forces the storm either down toward Atlanta or up toward Chattanooga (or both, I guess) at that point.

I guess I just wonder, if we imaging the atmosphere as a liquid, if there’s something about the arrangement of the rocks beneath it that affects how the liquid flows.