Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hail You Say

Last night, I made my arrival home from work just in time to greet a quite vicious thunder storm. The duration of the storm was only six minutes, but in that time we accumulated 0.4 inches of rain, not counting the hail. That’s a rainfall rate of 4 inches per hour. The ferocity of the event kept me confined to my car.

These hailstones are what kept me from making a dash for the house. Well, those and the almost continuous lightning and the sticks and other debris that kept blowing past the windshield. Not record breakers, but the large ones qualified as dime sized and seemed to have a lot of pent up rage they were trying to release. I was glad to be under cover.

Looks like an explosion of ice mushrooms beneath the pines. As the storm hit, I watched dozens of birds zip into the pine thicket. Wind blew, rain poured, hail struck, lightning flashed and the pine trees shook in all directions. When the storm began to subside, the birds emerged and went about their normal business. After witnessing the beating the trees took, it was not unreasonable to expect the ground to be littered with bird bodies. Not even a feather on the pine needles. The birds were unscathed.

I guess, even though the hail appeared at the time to be sufficient to batter any exposed life form, the actual distribution of the stones was broad enough that even a bird sitting on the open ground had a good chance of being missed. Add in the fact that only a small percentage of the hail was actually large enough to damage a bird plus the protective advantage of the trees and the chances of a damaging hit seem slight. I often wonder how wild animals survive some of our most violent weather, but I’m usually imagining myself stuck out in the storm, not the animals.

The storm was moving fast and soon spun itself off to the east. This is what you have to expect when it hits 80 degrees on the first full day of spring. At least we weren’t buried in snow again.


  1. Wow. We have seen several nasty spring storms go past Cincinnati, one bad enough to have storm water standing in the streets up here near Xavier U. where it should drain quickly. I was in an edge of a storm of while picking up kids, but it moved so fast that it wasn't too bad. No hail where we are. From what I can figure you are somewhat East, but not too far North of here - right in the same weather pattern.

  2. Hi Steve...I would have been trying to get under the seat somehow...I don't do well in thunderstorms let alone hail..yikes!!
    We had 4 inches of snow yesterday. I doubt that it will be 80 degrees,but it will melt of fast!!
    Make sure you know the weather before you go tramping out on one of you back woods excursions! : }

  3. Great shots Steve! Thunderstorms are always one of my favorite parts of spring.

  4. Hi, Lois. I'm hoping that getting the hail yesterday will make me exempt from hail tomorrow. It sounds like everyone has a chance at experiencing some fun weather.

    I think you're safe from these storms for a while, grammie g. Looks like it may just be some more snow for you.

    I agree, Mike. I love to watch thunderstorms. It's just best when they don't rip parts off your house and blow them away.