Predictable Unpredictable Weather

Window condensation 08-22-2023

One thing about Missouri’s weather is it predictably unpredictable.

In the last month or so, we’ve gone from weeks of drought, torrential rains that flooded communities like Marble Hill (rain was falling at the rate of better than four inches an hour at my house, and about a week of the heat index above three digits, not counting the decimal point.

The Night of the Big Rain didn’t bring promised (dreaded) winds and hail, but the lightning was almost continuous.

That brought to mind Mark Twain’s comment, “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightning that does the work.”

Not only hot, it’s humid

You can see from the condensation on my basement window when I started up the stairs to go to bed that there’s a lot of moisture in the air

When the heat index was 106 (116 if you believe the local TV station), I elected to replace a dusk to dawn porch light that had decided to stay on all the time.

The whole process took about an hour, at which point you could ring sweat out of my cap, shirt, suspenders and underwear. I had other projects on my list, but I may put them on hold until the one week in November before temps drop below zero,



Peironnet Family Mausoleum

Peironnet Mausoleum 08-15-2014Whenever I go visit Dad’s grave in the New Lorimier Cemetery, I see the Perionnet family’s mausoleum just as I turn left to leave the graveyard. Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders wrote about the history of the structure in her December 5, 2013, blog. I’ll steal a few snippets from it, but if you want to get the whole story, you should go to her blog.

Harlan P. Peironnet was first resident

Peironnet Mausoleum 08-15-2014Harlan P. Peironnet was a prominent Cape Girardeau businessman when he died in St. Louis in 1912. He was first buried in New Lorimier Cemetery, but his wife and son-in-law spent $3,475 to have this mausoleum built by a St. Louis company. Newspaper accounts said some of the granite pieces weighed as much as 14 tons and had to be moved in special wagons pulled by “giant” horses brought in from St. Louis.

Mr. Peironnet’s remains were disinterred and moved into one of the eight crypts in the building in 1914. His wife, the paper reported, viewed his remains, “which were in nearly as perfect condition as the day he died, a year ago.”

Peironnet’s wife died in 1951

Peironnet Mausoleum 08-15-2014Mrs. Julia Moon Peironnet died in 1951, a few days short of her 96th birthday. She came to Cape when she was two, the daughter of one of the first practicing dentists west of the Mississippi, and was was one of the first students at Cape Girardeau Normal, which later became SEMO University. She taught school in Wayne County and in East Cape Girardeau, where she was ferried back and forth across the river in a skiff.

Lightning hit mausoleum in 1984

Peironnet Mausoleum 08-15-2014A cemetery worker making his rounds on a March morning in 1984 noticed damage to the mausoleum that he thought might have been caused by a bomb. A federal bomb squad that was called in determined that the building had been struck by lightning. The force of the bolt blew off a 2-foot by 2-foot chunk of granite, knocked off one of the double doors and shattered much of the marble slate that made up the eight biers inside.

The damage has since been repaired.

It’s interesting how much of the skyline on the right is dominated by Southeast Hospital. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

In a good neighborhood

Miller Family Plot 08-15-2014I was fascinated by the “Miller” tile work setting off the graves on the south side of the mausoleum. Had I stepped back a few more steps, I would have seen the stone marking the grave of I. Ben Miller, noted farmer and businessman.

The light-colored stone on the right belongs to Dr. Lila Miller, his daughter. Mr. Miller named his dairy farm on Sprigg Street the Lila Drew Farm in honor of his daughters, Miss Lila Miller and Miss Clara Drew Miller. Both daughters are buried in this section, along with son Edwin Miller and his wife.




Drought Barely Dampened

I’ve been in Cape a couple days more than a month in the hottest stretch of weather since 1936. It might have sprinkled a couple of drops during that time, but I don’t remember them. We’ve had some flashes and rumbles that got hopes up for nothing.

This afternoon, though, the skies started to darken and the radar started showing a line of reds and yellows headed our way. I bought Mother a new portable weather radio, so I broke it out of its blister pack and started wading through the miniscule type to figure out how to set it up for Cape county and the area where her trailer is on Kentucky Lake. I was getting pretty close to done, I thought, when NOAA squawked out a severe thunderstorm warning. It startled me so much that I almost pitched it like a snake.

I decided to run out to the car before the rain started to get my video camera. Maybe we’d get something worthwhile.

Video of approaching (but not arriving) storm

We caught some pretty impressive wind in advance of the storm – the airport south of Cape logged a 53-mph gust. The initial rain pelted down hard, but then slacked off. That’s probably a good thing: the ground is so hard that anything that splashed down would have immediately run off.

The .014 inches of rain recorded at the airport in about an hour and a half won’t go far in helping what has been classified as an “exceptional drought.” Be ready for higher food prices. There’s no relief in sight.

Storms of 2011

What a difference a year makes.


Mother Nature’s a Tease

Mother and I took a swing over to Jackson so I could get my Wib’s BBQ fix. The sky to the west looked dark blue and the radar was painting lots of reds and yellows. As soon as the server had taken our order, there was a brilliant flash outside the window. To be on the safe side, I went out to the car to get the umbrella.

That probably doomed Mother’s corn crop down at Dutchtown. It didn’t rain at Wib’s. This guy’s field doesn’t look all that great, either.

I stood on a high piece of ground in Fruitland trying to get a look at a controversial quarry there. I missed a couple of good lightning bolts (they missed me, too. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this). No rain.

Egypt Mills Trinity Lutheran Church

After my presentation at the Altenburg Museum Tuesday night, Tom Neumeyer mentioned that he had seen a large Steinhoff headstone at the Trinity Lutheran Church at Egypt Mills.

So, we went out past the KFVS TV tower (once the world’s tallest structure), to check it out. We found several stones and recognized some of the names, but they weren’t part of our immediate clan.

I liked the look of this small outbuilding and took a couple of frames while being teased by rumbles and flashes. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

Heat records shattered

Heat records are being shattered as are records for the number of days in a row the temperature has hit 100 or higher.  The last time St. Louis was this hot for this long was in 1936, said Jim Keeney, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Central Region Headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Then, the city recorded 13 days in a row of temperatures 100 degrees Fahrenheit or over. That devastating heat wave of the mid-’30s killed thousands of people and destroyed many crops.

We see clouds build up, hear thunder, see impressive radar returns, then the storms dissipate or split, going around Cape.

Hoping to walk to Tower Rock

The Southeast Missouri Geocaching folks are keeping a close eye on the Mississippi River gauges at Chester and Cape Girardeau. When the Chester gauge reads 0 and / or the Cape gauge reads 7, the water is low enough to walk across to Tower Rock, just south of Wittenberg. The gauges are at 5.39 and 11.23, with a gentle rise predicted.

Brother Mark and I picked our way to it October 12, 2003. He climbed to the top of the rock with his bicycle for reasons only he could explain.