In Big Sky, it’s normal to feel the wind pick up and see the sky deepen to gray. This is followed by a short, sometimes drenching rain usually between 2:00-5:00 pm. (Especially on Farmer’s Market Wednesdays… how is that?)

Afternoon showers are routine until the snow is completely melted off the peaks, according to cowboy lore. The day will start with deep, royal blue skies and a few puffy cumulus clouds. By mid-day, a darker hue of grey quietly sneaks up over the horizon, followed by an ominous darker wall of atmospheric tumult. A low rumble of thunder tugs at your senses. Then, a sudden sharp crack on the heels of a brilliant flash of lightening announces that weather havoc has arrived. The skies open and it feels like a celestial bucket of water is being dumped.

If you are biking, hiking on a hill or about to go for the 15th hole of golf, time to abandon your course! Do NOT seek shelter under tall isolated trees. The tree may help you stay dry but will significantly increase your risk of being struck by lightning. Rain will not kill you, but the lightning can!

Rocky Mountain thundershowers are brief, sometimes accompanied by hail. Wicked ice marbles bounce like popcorn around the ground. But, before long, the wind gives a final gust and it all blows over. Most afternoon showers last between 20-60 minutes.

As the wild wind moves on its merry way, the sun will burst back through the clouds to create one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful gifts – the rainbow.