It was a cool Friday night in Smethport, Pennsylvania. Storms were rolling in as the townsfolk got ready for bed that night in 1942. The forecast called for a high chance of rain, possibly a thunderstorm or two. I have to wonder how many of them sat on their front porches watching the skies darken prematurely, enjoying the smell and cool relief of a summer storm. How many lay awake that night listening to the tap dance of nature on their roofs?
This night was unlike any other in history. In the short span of just 4.5 hours, 30.8” of rain feel on this small Northern PA town; before all was said and done, a record 34.5” fell in twelve hours, causing major flooding and the deaths of fifteen. This is the greatest amount of rainfall in a 24-hr. period worldwide outside of a rain forest.
Allow me to put this in perspective for you. In the time it takes to travel across the State of Washington (Spokane to Seattle) the rain got about as high as a typical two-year-old boy (about two and a half feet). That’s a serious downpour! And the resulting flood was devastating.
Still. I love rain. Especially in the summer, at night, when it drops the temperature about 15 degrees and everything smells fresh and clean. Two of my favorite quotes involve rain: “All girls looks forward to their first kiss in the rain” (from a Peanuts cartoon), and “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain” (Vivian Greene). I wonder….do you think Luke Bryan would still sing “Rain Is A Good Thing” if he had lived through that storm?