We were in Durham, south of Chico, getting my hair cut, Smedley and Sparky and me. The light outside started getting really weird. "Do you think the light outside is getting weird?" Rita asked me as she combed my wet hair.
"Yes," I answered.
"The light looked just like this before the tornado," whispered Rita." Durham was one of the places a tornado touched down this past spring, ripping up a whole almond orchard.
BOOM! the first thunder sounded. BOOM! BOOM! It was really loud, even under the hair dryer. We waved goodbye to Rita and hurried to the car. It was just before 7:00 and nearly dark, so the huge forks of lightning ripping across the sky were hard to miss. We drove right into it.
BOOM! "Whoa, that was a huge bolt!" said Smedley. It was on top of us.
It was showery, but not pouring. No problems in west Chico or south Chico. Climbed onto the freeway and noticed the hail. Still not a problem -- until getting off the freeway. A car had skidded off the road right near my exit. Whoa.
Once off the freeway the hail was in drifts, piled several inches high everywhere tires had not traveled. I couldn't easily determine lanes or driveways. Luckily I had gotten into the left lane, because at the Pillsbury/Cohasset intersection, the entire right lane and most of the intersection was under water. It was surreal.
We found a place to park near Jamba Juice and picked our way gingerly over the frozen-solid hail, now shrunk to the size of garbanzo beans (my Facebook friends have posted shots of quarter-sized hail, and golf ball-sized hail made the news last night).
Our plans for a girls night were now squelched, so we ordered smoothies for the ride home. I took these lovely blurry photos from the front door of Jamba Juice.
I had a hard time getting out of the North Valley Plaza parking lot because the puddles were massive, and that car doesn't do puddles well; several years ago a particularly big puddle drowned the engine, which had to be replaced. After four tries I found an exit I could swim through and we headed for home.
It still looked like a winter wonderland in Chico this morning as I drove to work. My boss's bathroom skylight was shattered by the hailstorm, which lasted for as long as half an hour, depending on where you were or how good your story-telling gene is.