As I headed out of the neighborhood this morning, I noticed a couple of really bright flashes in the east. Now, I leave at 6 a.m., and it was quite dark still. I wondered if it was the nearby searchlights at the Shelby County Airport, but it was brighter than that. I stopped at the intersection by the Shell station, about a stone's throw from the interstate, and began seeing amazing lightning, bright white horizontal plasma streaks against the dark gray, like someone had cracked open the sky with a ball peen hammer.
All the way up I-65, the lightning continued in a semicircle to the northwest, north and northeast. A few streaks dashed down to earth, but mostly they were tangled up like luminescent yarn across the horizontal. The streaks lit up a cloud layer that seemed to be moving toward the east, but no rain.
Until I started up the hill toward the Alford Ave. exit. Huge splats of rain bombarded my windshield, accompanied by thunder. Traffic slowed to that "OMG-it's-raining-slam-on-the-brakes-for-no-apparent-reason" speed on the way down the hill, and the rain intensified. Lakeshore Drive was attempting to revert to its pre-1908 state (when there was actually a lake there instead of just a creek), and I switched my wipers to full intensity.
For some reason, the rain usually slackens when I get to campus. For that I'm grateful. It's only a few yards from my car to the side door of Samford Hall, although it was still raining enough to require an umbrella.
Now I sit in my cozy office, listening to the thunder as the rain settles in for awhile. The bad stuff wasn't supposed to hit until this afternoon. This was just a nice surprise.