When we think of the summer beauty this wonderful valley has to offer, most of us conjure up images of the surrounding mountains, lush green fields and cool river waters seen under crystal clear blue skies At most, a really cool and interesting cloud might enter the scene in just the right place to make a perfect composition. And so often, that is exactly how our summer days are here.
As we move into what we call the North American monsoon season, however, big dark storm clouds will fill the afternoon skies and lightning will crack the air. For a brief time, the surrounding mountains will be overshadowed by something much bigger. It take a lot to overwhelm mountains like the Tetons, but storm clouds do it regularly and with impunity. The size of a mountain is no match for the size of storm cloud, nor the height, nor the grandeur. And to top it off, storm clouds move at a pace we can sometimes see; they rise, they fall, and sometimes they shoot bolts of lightning down at us. I really hope we never see the Tetons do anything like that!
We could go on about the nature of convection and how and why clouds grow to such enormous dimensions, but that’s for another blog. This one’s for the beauty of Teton Valley weather, not the science. (Even thought we true weather nerds see little difference between the two.)
Now, we don’t recommend being outside to admire a storm if there is lightning. The odds of being struck by lightning aren’t as small as you think; according to National Geographic, one in every 3,000 of us will be struck by lightning sometime in our lifetime. The best way to make sure it’s one of the other 2,999 and not you is to not be outdoors when there is lightning. But if you can view the storm from inside safe shelter, by all means do. It will bring true meaning to the word awesome.
Another good way to enjoy the beauty of a storm is to go to the Teton Valley Weather Facebook page and see if your neighbors have posted any pictures of the incredible cloud formations they saw. If you took any pictures, post them yourself. Beauty is where you find it, and sometimes you find it where you least expect it.