Q&A Friday #80: What Is The Most Intense Weather Event You’ve Experienced?

Question: “The Northest is expecting some snow today. 2-4 inches in NY, (sarcastic GASP!) and people are freaking out. Get a grip, people, it’s not a big deal. Anyway, it got me thinking about REAL severe weather. What is the most instense weather event you’ve experienced?” — Tom_pinko_Delay

Answer: I was in college, staying in a dormitory, when Hurricane Hugo tore up Charlotte, NC.

They made us all go down to the lobby, but I snuck back upstairs to look out the window — and it was an awesome sight. I watched wind rip an enormous air conditioning vent — it must have weighed at least a couple of hundred pounds — off the top of the dorm next door and blow it to the ground.

It was an incredible spectacle.

The next day, when I beat feet out of town because there was no power, I dodged downed trees and power lines all the way out of town.

Bonus: Another time, when I lived in Charlotte, there was a really big ice storm and I stayed at work way too long before I told them I absolutely had to leave for home. Normally, it was about a 30 minute drive. But, with ice all over the roads, it ended up taking about 3 hours.

There were wrecks all over the place and unfortunately for me, I was driving a piece of junk car at the time that would overheat if I sat in traffic for a long time without moving fast enough for the air to cool the engine. So, at least 2 or 3 times, I had to pull onto the side of the road and just let the engine cool down.

Eventually, I got to Independence Avenue in Charlotte and traffic was completely backed up, cars were everywhere, the car was overheating — and I couldn’t help but notice that the bus lanes (Did I ever tell you how much I hate bus lanes?) were completely empty. How much sense does that make? Traffic is crawling in a major snowstorm and you have a whole, completely empty lane of traffic?

So, I figured the police would be too busy to bother with me, I said the hell with it, jumped in a bus lane and just bypassed all the traffic. At this point, I’m really jazzed because I am almost home and I get going a little faster than I should and I forgot about this huge hill I have to go down to get to my apartment. Next thing you know, I start sliding, do a complete 180, and rap the curb sideways. Luckily, I had slowed down enough to keep from damaging my car, I got turned around, and then I made it home.

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