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    Friday
    Apr222011

    Hail Away

    Yesterday, the wind died down and beautiful storms rolled through.  Beautiful and potent.  The storm front could be seen in the west, and it was sort of a dark bluish, gray-green color.  There was no buildup for the first downpour of the traveling weather - a hailstorm.  It started out slowly with occasional loud bangs on the roof.  Like mini-explosions.  As the downpour gathered momentum, I was amazed at the speed with which these blobs of ice rained down.

    We have a large covered front porch so I stood outside to watch.  As the ice missiles hit the driveway, most would explode into smaller fragments.  A few of these shards would fly up onto the porch, even as far as the front door (I didn’t venture too far away from that post).  I did run back in to get the camera and was able to photograph a small piece that had split perfectly in half.  Inside, the concentric ice rings were visible…you could even see the starting ring that formed around the original drop of rain.  Fascinating!

    GB related that, depending on the height of the storm and the strength of the accompanying updrafts, these ice formations continue to grow in size until their weight becomes too much for the clouds to contain.  They then come hurtling down at great speed.  They not only sounded like missile explosions, they were missile explosions.  Ice missiles.  Our poor neighbor was out mowing on a large riding mower and was caught in the ‘hail’ of hail.  She had to drive her mower down the road, around the corner, and up the street to where the mower lives (they own the property next to us and behind us).  I stood watching her all bent over, driving this large mower (she wore earphones), and trying to hurry.  As I tried to figure out what I might do to help her along, she rounded the corner and was gone.

    The hail didn’t last long, five minutes maybe, but it was enough to stop traffic and make you feel a tiny bit anxious.  Cars were dented, windshields around town were broken; one woman even suffered a broken arm.  I’m sure there are some roofs that will need repair and maybe a fence or two to fix.  The new leaves were torn from limbs and scattered the ground.  I didn’t even think about our new vegetables plants, but they fared well.  The flowers too.  The hailstones ranged in size from peas to softballs.  It was a menagerie of ice, in all sorts of interesting shapes (why did I think that hail was mostly rounded?).

    Is it not amazing that these few moments had the potential to change the way we planned our day, or even the next few weeks (the woman with the broken arm)?  I didn’t know it was going to hail like that.  Even the weather predictors can’t know the size, amount, or destructive force that will fall from the sky.  Prepared for a spring hailstorm we may never be, but we can prepare ahead of time to take what comes with resilience.