Though I still have a lot to learn about North Carolina, such as the best way to access “The Loop”—the nearly 70-mile-long highway that completely encircles the city of Charlotte—I already know one thing for certain.
When it rains here, it rains hard.
There’s been the risk of thunderstorms each of the past four days and, each time, once beautiful and sunny skies have given way to fast-moving and treacherous-looking gray clouds. In each instance, the rumbling of thunder could be heard off in the distance, quickly followed by the slow “pit-pat-pit-pat” of oversized raindrops striking our roof, window panes and the concrete patio out back.
Within minutes, the slow “pit-pat-pit-pat” is replaced with the rapid machine-gun fire of pelting raindrops striking every hard and unforgiving surface, including the area’s hard clay soil that can never fully absorb it all, prompting the immediate forming of large puddles that cover lawns and streets—at least until the sun reappears and quickly dries it all up.
Before that happens, the rain typically increases in intensity as the rumbling thunder is joined by strikes of lightning that somehow still manage to illuminate a still-bright early afternoon sky. After a parting boom or two, the strength of which usually rattles the windows, the rain resumes its slow “pit-pat-pit-pat” chorus before stopping … at least for the moment.
A final rumble of thunder, which I’ve interpreted as a promise of a return visit, usually concludes each day’s downpour.