Snow in August

August 31st

Ok. I wasn’t expecting that. It didn’t actually snow on us, but on the morning of August 31st, after a spectacular thunderstorm, we woke up to snow in the mountains around Lake Como.

Snow in the mountains around Lake Como on August 31, 2012.

I thought we were going to have summer weather from July all the way through next January when we return home. I assumed that August in Italy (even northern Italy) would be nothing but hot and sunny, and September in Puglia (in the far south of Italy) would be more of the same. For the last two weeks of August, we watched the hills across the lake change from solid green to varying shades of brown and gold. Autumn was coming to the mountains. We still had days that were warm enough to swim, but by the end of August, we had to close the windows at night and put blankets on the bed.

Golden hills across the lake from our apartment at Lake Como.

I also learned during this period that people everywhere spend a great deal of time discussing the weather. It seems so odd to me that we don’t come to expect the unexpected, especially during this time of climate change. We are surprised at snow in August, even though it may have happened that way for the last three years in a row.

For George and me, the thunderstorms were a real treat. Both of us had experienced summer thunder storms back east, and we love the drama of it all. We watched the clouds gather and grow darker.

Gathering clouds across the lake.

More gathering clouds.

Then we saw a flash across the sky and waited for the thunder. We pulled up chairs in front of the window to watch the storm, just like a couple of little kids.

You have to picture me sitting right next to George with my arms on the window sill and my chin on my arms. We spent several wonderful hours here.

We ooohed and ahhhed at the beauty of the lightning streaks and thrilled at the echoing rumble of the thunder through the canyon. The first of the three storms we watched started at nearly midnight and the lightning would light up the whole lake for a second, turning it shades of purple and blue. The wind roared up the lake and threatened to take all the summer umbrellas with it. There wasn’t much rain accompanying this light and sound show (at least in the first two storms) but the mornings after the storms brought crystal clear views across the lake and up to the Alps.

Crystal clear views across the lake on the morning after the first thunderstorm.

I now freely admit that I have no idea what kind of weather we will encounter for the rest of our travels. We could have summer, fall, winter and spring all rolled into the next four months. The changeability is fine with me. It gives me something to talk to the locals about.


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