The largest hail stone I could get to without getting hurt! There were bigger ones than this!
Broken telephone pole on Farm to Market Highway 41 just west of my house
I'm finally getting around to writing about last weekend. For those who are not on my personal Facebook page or don't know me, you're probably wondering why I have fallen off of the face of the earth. Last Sunday, April 29th, 2012, my community was hit with a massive hail storm around 8:00 PM. The National Weather Service has not confirmed a tornado, but local meteorologists are saying yes, we had one. I saw the funnel with my own two eyes, so regardless of what NWS is saying, we did experience a tornado in this area. The damage even reflects that of twisting winds, rather than straight line winds that can sometimes appear to be tornadic damage.
Last Sunday I saw that the weather was changing, so I did what I usually do and go sit out on my porch and watch. The temperature plummeted from a warm 85-90 degree mark down into the lower 70's within thirty minutes. I totally didn't see the signs and I usually do. I knew the storm forming was going to be a big one, but it appeared to be moving more northerly and westerly from us, so I figured we'd get some downbursts and a little bit of rain, but the northern part of the county would get the brunt of it. The weather got really cold (another dead ringer for signs of hail) so I went in the house. The wind was strong and I didn't think I'd see much else.
Not five minutes after I went in, my phone blew up with text messages and calls from people, warning me to get out of my house. (I don't have a basement or cellar) A tornado warning had been issued for the southern part of the county, with a hook and wall cloud headed right toward my location. I was baffled. I asked my mother, "When did this happen?" The storm that was moving west of us had shifted southeast. Two storms collided and formed a monster of a supercell. If it would have been daytime, I would have chased, but a few years back I swore to myself I would never do it at night ever again, and I really think it was a good decision, because even the storm chasers and meteorologists around here had no clue what the storm was going to do.
After receiving several warnings to leave my home, I grabbed my dog Wyatt, put him on a leash, and left my stuff behind. I went next door to my aunt's house, and she too, does not have a basement or cellar. When the news finally said a tornado was on the ground just west of here, we decided to head to my uncle's house where there is a basement available. I sprinted down the road to my uncle's, unsure of where the storm was even located. Wind howled around me and I could hear massive hail stones hitting structures in the distance, each thud getting louder as it got closer to me. My poor dog was terrified and I had to yank his leash to get him to run with me.
To make a long story short, everyone is okay and things could have been so much worse. There was a lot of damage out here, and sad to say, other people's homes ended up even worse off than mine. I lost 5 windows and my car was totaled. We got new glass put up in the windows and I already got another vehicle to drive. My insurance company is supposed to come this week to haul off my poor little Cobalt that now looks like a golf ball with all of the hail dimples in it. The windshield was completely obliterated as well.
My totaled Chevrolet Cobalt. Every panel on the car sustained hail damage
As an amateur storm chaser, I've seen some really interesting things in regard to the weather. However, April 29th was a first for me. I had never seen hail as big as I did that night. The biggest I personally saw was baseball sized hail, but there were reports of grapefruit sized as well, and from the damage, I definitely believe it. We got some much needed rain, but it's a shame all of the severe stuff had to come with it. I really hope that the severe stuff stays away for awhile. Bring all of the rain and mild thunderstorms, but keep the horrible hail and tornadoes away.
And on a side note pertaining to my writing - I'm actually in the process of writing a story about a storm chaser encountering strong and killer weather patterns. You'd think something like this would help my muse on the story, but as of right now, I'm debating on putting it on hold for awhile!
Happy reading to all!