Friday, July 23, 2010

Bad Weather

For eight months of the year, Senegal's weather is perfect: sunny and 75 degrees during the day, starlit and 60 degrees at night.

But when July rolls around, things get really nasty. Aside from sprinkles, overwhelming heat and humidity, and frequent power outages, there are also some pretty dramatic outbursts from mother nature.
Biking to work recently, i was assailed by one of these violent storms. I spotted it as I climbed the hill next to the monument about a mile into my 4 mile commute -- a black-yellow cloud obscuring the horizon and moving quickly in my direction.

I had just enough time to stuff my cellphone into a plastic bag before bullets of water driven by furious gusts of wind blinded me. I hopped back on my bike and pushed with all my might against the wind to the summit of the hill as water soaked me through and pieces of palm trees whizzed past my head.

Lightning flashed within the low hanging black clouds and thunder competed with the roar of the rain for space in my ears. I put on my sunglasses, to defend my burning eyes from the onslaught of rain that prevented me from seeing even a few feet ahead of me.

At the bottom of the hill, a rushing flood awaited me, hiding the ankle-snapping potholes I knew lurked beneath.What had once been roads covered in dust, people and dilapidated cars became barren rivers of muddy water. The few people still caught out in the storm sprinted through the water and dodged mounds of oozing sludge.

I arrived at work soaked to the bone.

"That was fun," I said, sopping into the newsroom. "How does that rank on the scale of Dakar rain storms?"

"That was an average one," a colleague said. "The worst ones are in August and September."

Lucky for me, the office has a shower and I keep a change of clothes.

*The above pic was taken by Kelly from our house during the rain I was biking through.

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