Summer in Austrian is generally (when I say generally I mean, meant to be) mild: late 20s/early 30s. Last year was an exception (colder than normal) and this year also seems to be an exception (warmer than normal) but that’s beside the point for this post. Living amongst the mountains invariably equals summer storms – lots of them – and decent ones too. I love a good storm… I just don’t love being out in it. But when you’re safe inside and the storm isn’t wreaking havoc on you, or any surrounding villages, they’re super impressive and strikingly beautiful. So here’s a few of my random thoughts on Austrian summer storms.
Where are they coming from? When will they hit? Exactly how nasty will they be? With mountains all around the frequency and severity of the storms can be highly unpredictable. The weather report seems to change daily as to what’s coming at us.
The daily 4pm storm
In saying that, a daily 4pm storm is quite common. In the late afternoon of a seemingly beautiful day, the clouds bulk up and the sky darkens into a grumbly, rumbly beast. This may come with or without rain, so you never really know if you should bring the washing in or not. Then immediately following the storm, it can be bright and sunny again within minutes.
Watching the radar
Extending on from the 4pm storm, the area that I have to drive through to get home from work is notorious for nasty, sudden storms complete with hail and a deluge of solid rain. So I generally keep a good eye on the weather radar, listen to the weather reports on the radio, and if there’s any big red patches… I hunker down and work a little longer.
But it doesn’t usually cool down
The storms here remind me of the ones I swear we used to have when I was growing up. Big, flashy and impressive, leaving the pavements steaming and the leaves glistening with droplets of water. But here, you don’t usually get the massive cool down afterwards. So while a storm might cause the temperature to temporarily drop, afterwards it heads right back up there!
The evening lightning show
This is my favourite… when I’m safe inside and there’s a spectacular lightning show out over the mountains to watch from the darkness of the apartment. Fork lightning and jarring thunder if the storm is close, and intermittent flashes with low rumbles if it’s further away.
Being kept awake all night
Then there’s the crazy storms that either wake you up, or simply continue from the time you hit the sack until you get up in the morning. They seem great at first… until they go on and on and on… and just when you think one has finally disappeared and you can get some uninterrupted sleep, the next one hits!
But at least we’re protected
The beauty about living where I live is that we are often protected by the mountains from the worst storms… so while it looks horribly foreboding, the result can be that nothing of significance happens. Luckily, so far this year, we’ve been spared from the worst. Hail the size of golf balls ruined most of the cars in one of Austria’s smaller cities, along with some of its crops, heavy rain and landslides have engulfed roads and broken up bridges, trees have blocked and closed roads… fingers crossed for the last part of summer!