At 5:00 in the afternoon, it felt like evening had already fallen
When Hurricane Florence began to move north, I was in western Pennsylvania, visiting family. The weekend had consisted of two glorious, breezy, cool and sunny days with white puffy clouds. Florence’s first day on scene was announced with a deluge, beginning around 2:00 PM Monday, Sept 17. That just happened to coincide with my planned return trip to Frederick, MD, my home the past 8 years.
For 30 miles the rain on I-79 was horrible, reducing speeds to 30 mph and blinding drivers not only with the downpour, but the inevitable spray created by traffic. Spin-outs from hydro-planing began to appear in the grassy shoulders and median strips, so rain-soaked that cars sank into the mud. Well built and maintained as they are, the roads simply could not shed water quickly enough to keep rivulets from forming. Twice I felt my car begin to hydro-plane as I tried to stay with traffic. Proceeding as slowly as I could and still stay with the flow, I began to seriously consider turning back, concerned that these might be the conditions for the entire 260 mile drive, half of it on the PA Turnpike; a most daunting proposition!
I determined that I would make the go-or-stay decision at the Cranberry exit, where I-79 meets the Turnpike. Miraculously, the skies cleared completely just before that interchange. Checking weather conditions, it looked as though it was almost completely clear between Cranberry and Breezewood, where I-70 heads southeast for Frederick and Baltimore. Go for it!
Most of the drive was amazingly clear and often gorgeous, except for 3-4 sections where bands of heavy rain existed for 5-10 mile stretches. I was delivered to Breezewood in longer than usual time, but safely . It was the perfect time to stop for coffee and a break.
This was where I had time to look around at the remarkable weather conditions that were beginning to manifest in the mountains surrounding Breezewood – just before rain, fog and wind reasserted dominance for another 20 miles.
In this photo, the mountains are almost completely obscured by heavy rain clouds extending nearly to the ground. At 5:00 in the afternoon, it felt like evening had already fallen, though sunset was officially 2.5 hours away. Within minutes of leaving here, I-70 East toward Frederick was completely fogged in, making the passage over the mountain at Town Hill much more exciting!
Jeff Behm is a commercial and advertising photographer serving corporate clients across the USA. Specialities are food, jewelry and executive portraits/headshots. Call 724-730-8513 to see how we can help you in your imaging needs.