Life between Fairfield and Neckartailfingen has mostly provided me with calm. Both highly suburbanized towns are quite uneventful. One way both homes are uneventful are with the weather. I can count the number of major storms I experienced in Farifield on one hand (Hurricane Gloria in 1985 included.) Yet compared to the Neckar Valley, I always felt like a bad-weather pro. I quickly learned that a passing summer thundershower is refered to as a "bad-weather storm" and people here really feel these are major severe-weather events. I often giggled at Joern when he would gravely warn me of an approaching "bad-weather storm" or "unwetter" My response would always be the same, "I wish you could see a hurricane, just once."
Last night though, we had a "bad-weather storm" that shocked me. Maybe these Germans have more reason than I previously thought to fear these storms.
Since we had been having our fair share of heat-related thunderstorms, I felt little concern over the approaching thunderclouds, as we set down to eat our delicious steak dinner. But, when the hail started to fall, the mood in our home went from enjoyable to worried very quickly. Worry? Why? We have our 1988 7-series, the "L", sitting outside in our driveway. The consequences of hail can be horrid to cars.
We waited until the hail got very loud, which meant very big, and knew it was time to run to save the car. In a half-dressed state, the two of us ran out to the car, and made our way to my in-laws house in the hope that their garage was open. We sat out the 15 minute hail storm, which is amazingly long for our area, and then thought it would be safe to leave.
As we turned the car around though and started down the long hill of a driveway, we saw a sight I have never seen. Joern's parent's street, which is also a large hill, had turned into a muddy, fast moving river. The water was about 5 inches deep. It was simply incredible.
Joern and I were really worried about our own cellar, and Joern decided that since other cars were making their way down the street, we needed to as well. We had to drive a really non-direct route, because the fire department had closed the street. It took us about 15 minutes to drive the 2 minute drive, but we finally made it, and fortunately we were not affected. Joern's grandmother was not so lucky though, she got quite a bit of water in her basement.
The drive back to Joern's parents was sad to me though. People began cleaning out from the 15 minutes that caused chaos. Some of the side streets were impassable due to the flooding, and people had water up their front stairs and into their homes.
What made me feel so sad was the look of helplessness on all the people's faces. All they could do was clean out their homes. There was nothing they could do to prevent the water from coming in though.
What made me smile through it all? The many people high on the hill who came out of their homes to look and to help their neighbors. And of course, the bottles of schnapps and shot glasses they brought with them to bring luck, and to wish away further troubles.