We had one “HAIL” of a storm yesterday.
We live in a part of Alberta that regularly provides us with unstable weather. Sometimes a tornado will be sighted in the area. There are times in winter when we have massive amounts of snow fall in a short time. Then here are the times when we get hail.
I guess that happens when I live in a part of the country called “Hailstorm Alley”.
Today was a weather watching day. It started with rain, lots of rain. Our neighbor told me 1 1/2 inches in one hour. Then came the hail.
The first wave of the little white balls of ice were really small. Like peas. This lasted for 12 minutes.
Then came the next wave. Quarter sized chunks of supercooled ice. The wind was calm so damage was minimal.
Next was the tornado. Luckly it was 15 km away but that is close enough. I have not heard of how much damage it caused.
It was a good day for a summer storm.
Here are some cool facts about HAIL
1. Hail is a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into ice.
2. Cut in half, a hailstone has concentric rings like an onion, which reveal the number of times it traveled to the top of the storm before falling to Earth.
3. Hailstorms rarely last longer than 15 minutes.
4. Large hailstones fall at speeds faster than 100 mph. No wonder they hurt when they strike.
5. Hailstones can vary from pea size up to grapefruit size or larger.
- Pea = ¼ inch
- Mothball = ½ inch /
- Dime/Penny = ¾ inch
- Nickel = 7/8 inch
- Quarter = 1 inch
- Ping-Pong Ball = 1 ½ inches
- Golf Ball = 1 ¾ inches
- Tennis Ball = 2 ½ inches
- Baseball = 2 ¾ inches
- Tea Cup = 3 inches
- Grapefruit = 4 inches
- Softball = 4 ½ inches
6. The largest hailstone ever recovered in the United States fell in Aurora, Nebraska on June 22, 2003, with a record 7-inch diameter and a circumference of 18.75 inches.
The heaviest hailstone ever documented in the U.S. fell in Coffeyville, Kansas on September 3, 1970, weighing in at 1.65 pounds.
7. What do you do if caught in a hail storm?
If you are in an automobile:
- Stop driving. If you can see a safe place close by (like inside a garage, under a highway overpass, or under a service station awning), drive there as soon as you can. Make sure you pull completely off the highway.
- Do NOT leave the vehicle until it stops hailing. Your car will furnish reasonable protection.
- Stay away from car windows. Cover your eyes with something (like a piece of clothing). If possible, get onto the floor face down, or lie down on the seat with your back to the windows. Put very small children under you, and cover their eyes.
If you are in a building:
- Stay inside until the hail stops.
- Stay away from the windows, especially those being struck by hail.
- Account for all family members, building occupants, pets, etc.
- Do not go outside for any reason. Large hail can cause serious or even fatal injuries.
- Avoid using phones and electrical appliances during a severe storm to avoid the danger of electrocution from lightning.
If you are outdoors:
- If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter immediately. If you can’t find something to protect your entire body, at least find something to protect your head.
- Stay out of culverts and lowland areas that might fill suddenly with water.
- Trees are a last resort. It is common during severe storms for trees to lose branches. Also, large isolated trees attract lightning.