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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Storm sensations

Storms have been coming and going this summer as usual for central Illinois.  Typically they roll in without warning (to us humans)  booming and flashing overhead.  Butterscotch has clued in to the oncoming storm well before anyone in my home has.  Fortunately he has learned to go to his safe area in our bedroom which then tells us in to start his favorite music - gypsy caravan by putamayo - to help him settle  (read about 2 blog posts earlier about how rhythmic music helps in storms).  Yesterday morning I was reminded how we  can miss the approaching storms that our pets are  already reacting to.

I was driving west on Route 36 at about 8:30 am and saw a large black front coming across the sky.  Just in to the east of the front, the sky was blue and clear,  to the north and south there were all these different cloud formations all moving fairly fast.  No rain, no big temperature drop but the wind was picking up.  I pulled over at Main and Van Allen Streets, just 3 blocks north of where I was driving to take some pictures.   I began to realize how storm approaches can be confusing as I looked at the sky, snapping all 4 directions.

Looking south.  See - blue skies south now 

Looking north - the front is over head and extending many blocks north
Looking west - mixture of building clouds moving fast high

Looking east - Not too bad. Mild cloud cover

If I were in my own yard looking just over my head, the sky was not that stormy.  The front was moving from west to north with pockets of clear sky.  There was not any rain yet, and the wind was not up at ground level.  When I was at a spot where there were few trees, I could see up high how fast the clouds were moving.  All of this weather activity up high is sensed down low by our pets.  This is telling them a storm is coming, which gets them to start the early signs of storm tension - pacing, clinging to you, hiding in the closet, avoiding going outside, or avoiding people or other pets. We tend to miss these early warnings, especially when we only look over our own head.  If your pet is acting like a storm is coming, believe them. 
This whole front moved over town in about 30 minutes without any rain, or wind.  I am not sure what weather Villa Grove may have had ( about 9 miles north east of Tuscola) - maybe a downpour or maybe not.  It really does not matter to the storm tense dog - a storm is coming and they need help to stay calm.  Put on a DAP bandanna or collar, put the rock and roll or other heavy rhythm music, and if they need meds, give them a small dose. 
As it turns out, we did get a pretty good thunderstorm in the wee hours of the am.  Butter was in his safe place and I put his gypsy music on which lulled us all back to sleep.