Google image of a haboob moving into a residential area.
As I start this morning, I’m sitting here with my coffee and listening to John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival---do, do, do, looking out my back door. Looking out the back door last night, we had a chance to see Mother Nature put on another Oklahoma Weather Show. It was 105-deg. during the day, with 110-deg. heat index, with the day being finished by up to 90 mph winds and the air filled with dirt. The weather service calls it an haboob. I stood outside to watch it come, but when it hit, it was a matter of seconds before I headed inside. Watching it by looking out my back door was just fine.
When we came home, it didn’t take long to realize we were back in OK. The wind started picking up as we crossed Missouri. From the time we reached I-35 in Central OK, until we got home, the headwind was strong enough that the truck refused to shift into high gear. We stopped in Enid for gas, having run the gauge to the lowest level I’ve ever seen. The next 41 miles saw the Ram burn 5.6 gallons, or 7.3 miles per gallon just from dragging the RV against the wind. That’s a drop of 4.6 mph from the trip average of 11.9 mph, nearly half, just from the wind. The sky was brown and the horizon heavily obscured from the blowing red dirt.
The next morning was funny. I was walking to the kitchen for a cup of coffee when Jean said, “Look, the wind is calm for a change.” I looked out the front window to see the leaves hanging still and quiet. I replied, “That’s okay, give it a couple minutes.” I grabbed my coffee, walked back around the end of the kitchen counter, which took less than two minutes, and looked out the window again. “There you go,” I said. Tree limbs were swaying in a solid 15 mph wind that quickly began gusting to 40mph, where it stayed for the duration of the day.
I clearly remember many times during the 40 years that Jean and I sailed when I’d complain about not having enough wind. Living in Oklahoma has certainly broken me of that habit. Now, when the wind stops blowing, I brush the accumulated dirt off a patio chair, sit, take a deep breath of air that’s not filled with a spoonful of red dirt, and just smile. The number of times that happens a year can be counted on the fingers, and no, I don’t have any more fingers than anyone else.