Generally speaking, Ruth & I have been lucky with the weather. We have traveled in lovely temperatures most of the time because we have been able to go to places during good weather months, summer mostly and most of the time. There have only been a few times, documented below, when weather forced the rearrangement of travel plans because one can never know what will happen before setting out for a distant destination.
We have luckily never experienced the big 4 while on the road–killer winds, earthquake, tsunami and close volcano–and I hope this remains true in the future. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be in Pompeii dealing the eruption of Vesuvius, visiting San Francisco when a major earthquake occurred, or being in Los Angeles when a fire and/or Santa Ana winds destroyed entire neighborhoods, or watching folks unexpectedly seeking higher ground due to an off-the-coast tsunami. I once talked to a man on the Oregon Coast who had to evacuate his property because tsunami warning sirens sounded in the middle of the night. I only recall one time while traveling that I thought I might not survive a weather situation.
Ruth & I have heard about killing hail while traveling because locals love to talk about strange local weather. The weirdest was in Australia’s city of Broken Hill in western New South Wales on the edge of The Outback. Several residents of Broken Hill told me about the odd hail storm that had occurred some months prior to our visit. When analyzed, the outsized hail stones contained evidence of Antarctic origination. That’s what made this storm so memorable. Hail was not unknown when we lived in St. Louis. I vividly recall grabbing my infant grandson from his bath and taking him outside so he could touch newly fallen hailstones, and I recall having to replace a hail damaged roof. Tornados occurred about once every year, but we never experienced hailstones while traveling. We have, however, experienced tornados and storm warnings on the road. I recall unexpectedly sitting in sleepwear with other guests in a motel one stormy night.
Snow is another matter. We had a flight cancelled one time about 8 pm and were forced to spend a snowy night in a Dutch hotel because of unusual weather in Ireland. I was amazed by falling snow in Ushuaia, Argentina, and Punta Arenas, Chile, in June. We experienced heavy but not unusual snow on the way to Tofino on Vancouver Island both times we went there. Once past high elevation, however, visitors to this fine town only get rain and lots of it as they near the Pacific Ocean. We also got caught in rare Christmas holiday snow in Ireland that delayed trains because toilets ceased functioning.
Rain during travel has been common. It was ridiculously predictable when we were in Barcelona for a week. We got used to it falling all week in London each year when Ruth and I used to spend spring breaks there. But the only time I thought that weather might cause our deaths was in Iceland just south of the Arctic Circle. We were alone on a gravel road after dark watching heavy rain fall. The temperature outside our car was near freezing, and snow was the consequence of a further drop of one degree in temperature. We obviously did survive.
As I wrote this, I watched a serious but inspiring blizzard outside my nearby window.