We drove eight hours on Saturday to get the bulk of driving done after our anniversary trip in Park City, Utah. Our goal was the Little America hotel in Flagstaff, AZ. I love the Little America. It was our home away from home in Salt Lake City while my daughter was at the University of Utah.
As I drove across Navajo land to Flagstaff, I noticed dark gray clouds building over Flagstaff. I pulled over and let my husband take over. After 35 years in the desert, I freak out driving through a storm — and I grew up near Seattle!
A few miles from the hotel, we witnessed huge lightning strikes, thunder and a downpour so intense we lost most of our visibility.
“Welcome to Flagstaff in July!” I told my husband. We both laughed and drove slowly to the hotel with our windshield wipers on blast.
Last July we spent our anniversary in Flagstaff. This is what I wrote:
Friday we left for a two-hour drive to celebrate our anniversary in the cool mountain town of Flagstaff, Ariz. We were looking forward to getting out of the heat, exploring a new area, hiking, dining, and staying at our favorite hotel brand, Little America.
Halfway to Flagstaff, we were entranced with big dark clouds that had long threads of rain hanging from them. Then there was a thunderclap and it started to rain. The rain turned into hail within minutes. It sounded like our car was being hit by golf balls. I was scared out of my mind.
My husband asked me to turn on the hazard flashers. My hands shook so badly I couldn’t do it. I began praying the Hail Mary!
We saw cars pull over on the right shoulder of the two-lane highway. But there was a cliff on that side and the visibility was getting awful. We were in the left lane where there wasn’t room to pull over, just a ditch.
Visibility went to zero. My husband drove at one mile per hour. He said he didn’t want to stop in case someone barreled into us. He followed a foot behind a semi — the tail lights the only thing we could see.
Looking back on that drive in July 2021:
We didn’t know — until we got to the hotel — that our car was dented from the front to the back bumpers and everything in between. It looked like someone took a hammer to it. The car went into the shop for two months while we waited for the chrome trim to be delivered amidst supply chain issues. The insurance company was so inundated with claims from that storm that they flew in insurance adjusters from Texas and Oklahoma.
Our friends who live in nearby Prescott said they found four dead deer in their yard killed by hail. They also had tens of thousands of dollars of damage to their home.
What we saw on the news yesterday before we headed home:
In the end, we arrived home safely from our 2021 and 2022 anniversary trips. I’m up to do it again next year!
What type of storms have you experienced that seemed wilder than normal? Did everyone stay safe?
You were incredibly fortunate both times. You know we have nothing like that up here in Washington. Glad you’re not deterred from plans for next year!
Crazy weather. I wasn’t expecting it either time! I do remember “the Great Flood when we lived outside of Snohomish. That would have been in the 1970s. We lived on a hill that became waterfront property and the farmers lost all their livestock.
Yes, the flooding is still common and growing worse each fall, but that deadly hail is astounding.
It was one of the most frightening things I have experienced.
I’m glad you’re back home , safe.
Thank you! It feels good to be home.
I’m not commenting because I don’t want to jinx anything
Ha! Since we’ve lived in AZ for only 18 months, maybe this weather is normal for July in the mountains and we just didn’t know about it?