Thursday afternoon, when it went suddenly dark, dark as night in the North East of England, everyone was afraid it was then end of the world.

Us South Africans who have never seen a real storm in England thought it was going to snow.  When it snowed in the 80’s in South Africa, one of the two times I saw snow there, it did the same, it went pitch black, then it began to snow.

So when the sky’s closed this afternoon in what was a beautiful afternoon.  It had looked like it was cheering up after a few hours of steady drizzle.  Looking out our kitchen window my son drew my attention to the strange type of darkness it was, something like a twilight evening but with a blue glow. It reminded me immediately of the morning in the 80’s when I was at school and it suddenly got dark – with a glow.  I remember too how everyone was saying it was the end of the world – that is until we saw all the tiny white flakes.  It was the beginning of a day that many South Africans will never forget – the first time they saw snow.  It snowed very thick but within 48 hours it was gone again, melted away by the warm spring sun.  The only other time it snowed while we were in South Africa, the sky also went pitch black before it started.  This was the only time my kids had ever seen snow.

So the afternoon’s apocalyptic darkness was a sure sign that it would snow – amazing to us was that it was followed by a thunder storm.  The only time we have seen lightning in England.  It actually made me a little home sick for South Africa because there are some of the worst electric storms one can imagine.  In summer it was called a 4.30 special.  Just as we were leaving work there would be a torrential downpour, worse than anything experience this afternoon in the north east.  This was accompanied by the most wild lighting you would see cracking right across the skies. It was frightening but at the same time, awesome.

Never in a million years did we imagine that such a mild downpour would cause such flooding.   Within half an hour the radio was broadcasting all the metro’s underwater, roads closed left right and centre and the final loud crack of thunder accompanied at the same time by a flash of lighting was basically the end of our first English thunder storm.  We were amazed though at the amount of flooding it caused.  This is what we would consider to be a mild, small storm.

My son and his friend went investigating straight away, the two of them are real paparazzi in the making – always in the middle of anything that is happening here.  With their phone camera’s they took some shots of the after affects of the strange afternoon storm.

 Stanton on Wallsend golfcourse.

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