Saturday, August 11, 2007

a New York City Storm

This past week found me in New York City again, this time for the DMA nonprofit conference.

On Tuesday night, while I was sleeping unaware, a storm came through the area and dumped 2 to 3 inches of rain on us, while a tornado hit Brooklyn that same night. I woke up not having heard a thing, only to turn on the TV and find that 2.5" had fallen in Central Park (not too far from where I was staying), and that subways were flooded out, etc. It was going to be a nightmare commute for some people, and as it was I had two meetings get canceled that morning because the people I was supposed to meet with couldn't make it in to the city.

I couldn't believe that such a storm had gone on and I had slept through it all. Some of us were comparing notes after, and one of my co-workers said she thought she had heard a dump truck going by near her hotel, but othewise she didn't hear anything else. Then a native New Yorker chimed in that what she mistook for a dump truck probably was thunder.

Apparently thunder in the city sounds very different from thunder elsewhere. Unlike thunder in the plains states, you don't hear a big CLAP at the beginning and rumblings after. Usually you don't hear the beginning of it at all -- it starts as a low rumble and gets louder, but never too loud, and then simply fades away. The sound is absorbed and bounced around by all the buildings, so it doesn't sound the way thunder does for us who don't live in such dense urban areas.

I was fascinated by this, and realized that I too had heard what I thought was a truck but apparently was actually thunder. Amazing!

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