The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hail of a storm

SKY WATCH FRIDAY time! Our hosts: Klaus | Sandy | Ivar | Wren | Louise | Fishing Guy

SKY WATCH FRIDAY (click the word to link and participate!)
Thanks to Dot and Tom, who were instrumental in the success of this blogging event. You should definitely come fly with us!On Monday, our sky was brimming with instability, and it excited me to watch the cumulus towers boil up high into the troposphere, growing with urgency, turmoiled tops rolling with activity, growing in power and strength. I knew what that meant... Instability, moisture and lift (the key thunderstorm ingredients) had collided offering us an opportunity for some exciting weather. In our case, it meant a rare hail storm in Valdosta. Hail captured by my wonderful groom:Hail captured by Emily F. in her yard:When you see extraordinarily large towers, the potential exists for hail, which forms in large cumulonimbus clouds.

Hail can be found in the middle and upper portions of almost all thunderstorms. However, most either melts before hitting the ground, or being very soft, disintegrates in the violent thunderstorm interior.
When clouds climb to extraordinary heights of 40,000 or 50,000 or even 60,000 feet, the top part of the cloud is supercooled with temperatures well below freezing. Hail then forms in a couple of ways.
1. The hail nucleus, buoyed by the updraft is carried aloft by the updraft and begins to grow in size as it collides with supercooler raindrops and other small pieces of hail.
2. Sometimes the hailstone is blown out of the main updraft and begins to falls to the earth.
3. If the updraft is strong enough it will move the hailstone back into the cloud where it once again collides with water and hail and grows. This process may be repeated several times.
4. In all cases, when the hailstone can no longer be supported by the updraft it falls to the earth. The stronger the updraft, the larger the hailstones that can be produced by the thunderstorm.
Fast Facts about hail

On June 22, 2003, a hailstone recovered in Aurora, NE, had a diameter of 7" (17.8 cm) and a circumference of 18 3/4" (47.6 cm). This hailstone was larger than the previous record large hailstone that fell in Coffeyville, KS, in 1970 (5.7" (14.5 cm) diameter and 17.5" (44.5 cm) circumference). However, weight, is the most important measurement. An accurate weight could not be determined for the Aurora hailstone; so the Coffeyville hailstone of 1970 remains the heaviest hailstone weighed and verified in the United States at 1.67 pounds (0.76 kg).

Hail causes $1 billion in damages to crops and property each year.

Hailstones can fall at speeds up to 120 mph (53 m/s).

Costliest United States hailstorm: Fort worth, Texas, May 5 1995. Total damage was $2 billion.

List of costliest and deadliest hail storms.
In my case, this was my first time seeing hail, and I drove through two hail swaths, each with about 1/2 to 3/4" hailstones. It was exciting and non-destructive. We also had ferocious downpours of rain on Tuesday, but there were no hail reports.

I will post about our last day of San Diego tomorrow.

Have a great day!


  1. Wow, congrats on your first hail experience, Jen! I clearly remember the May 5, 1995 hail storm here in north central Texas. It was a beast of a storm with grapefruit-sized hail in some locations, if I remember correctly.

  2. I think I was about 6 or 7 when I first had my hail experience and it excited the heck out of me, especially considering it's the best I could get to a snow living in the tropics.

    Love the cumulus photo.

    You bet, they're working me hard. Cant do as much bloghopping as I used to do :=D

  3. Hail storms can sure be scary. The worst one I recall was in Calgary in the early 80s. golf ball hal landed hard, bounced, and brook a couple of windows. Those are great cloud photos you got!

  4. what a lovely photo and those clouds look lovely,

    Gill in Canada

  5. The clouds, the trees and little bleu,
    makes the first picture beautiful!

  6. The clouds look great, but hailstorms are not a favorite in my book. I remember one with tennisball size hail, leaving sidings with large holes.

  7. happy thursday.
    congrats on your first hail experience. it is something isn't it?
    enjoyed your most informative post and photos.

  8. Happy SWF! Very beautiful photo!Your posts are always very interesting.The clouds looks great!Have a nice weekend!

  9. Uh oh! What are you dewing? Running around in a Hail storm? Hail mary's are made for other occasions!
    Don't you dew that again! ;)
    God pics! Though I have not the slightest idea what I see on your hubbies pic!
    Cheers, Klaus

  10. Interesting both in picture and words - thanks!

  11. I love the mountainous clouds in the first pic, brilliant.

    Have a great weekend.
    Regina In Pictures

  12. Great post, I love watching the weather and thunderstorms are a favorite, but then, we don't have tornados around here.

  13. Beautiful photos! Very interesting post.

  14. Great shots and very informative. I always find hail rather unsettling.

  15. Hi Dew, lovely clouds there even if they are harbingers of some thing else.
    I am glad that we do not get the large hail stones you show.
    What a shock and oh what damage.
    Have a great weekend.

  16. Thankfully, my area of Valdosta didn't see any hail, but my yard was so saturated with water that I had to have my septic tank pumped. Luckily, no flooding in my area either.

    The last hail I saw was furing Hurricane Jeanne when I lived in Lakeland, FL.

  17. Wow, what interesting info...I loved reading this...beautiful clouds in your photo...yrs ago in New England, a hail storm ripped the vinyl roof of my car in several places! It was an awesome storm...

  18. Lovely photo of the sky. The clouds look like cotton. Nice!

    I've never experienced hail before and hope I would, JUST ONCE. heheh


  19. This is one great cloud. Thanks for the hail info, its very interesting.

  20. Great post, so interesting. Your photos were enjoyable. A few years ago we had a really bad hail storm and remember hail so big it damaged everyone's siding in our neighborhood and all the cars we saw outside looked like someone had taken a hammer to every square inch.

  21. We had a terrible hail storm soon after Hurricane Ivan, it was like adding insult to injury. Now everytime they talk about the possibility of hail I put everything up and keep my fingers crossed. So far, so good.

  22. Hi! Happy Skywatching!

    Thanks for visiting my page. On your question about the smileys, here's the link on how to do it:

    Blogger Bells and Whistles:)

  23. We had baseball size hail fall one time in Maryland, when I was a kid. I'll never forget that.

  24. Well haileluja! Great sky and even greater composite hailstones. Bit late thogh to be raining Easter eggs.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Beautiful clouds and sky. Your knowledge about the weather is amazing : )

  27. This week's storms here in CT have been the subject of mystified conversation all over the place. Thanks for this informative post.

  28. what a nice and wonderful clouds! :)

  29. Never seen a hail storm..would like to experience one for sure..thanks for this informative post

  30. Great informative post. Might be fun for me to experience this hail storms.. Nice sky photo..

  31. Thanks for the interesting info. That still looks like a nice sky!

  32. Wow, Dewdrop, you give new meaning to Sky watch. Great pictures, and educational blog; thanks for sharing. And congratulations on your marriage.

  33. Very pretty clouds!! I got caught in a hailstorm here last summer while hiking at around 11,000 feet in elevation. It was tiny and sharp and one even bounced off my eyeball. Ouch!

  34. That was exceptionally fascinating information about hailstorms. I never really new how they were caused and now I know. Gives skywatching a whole new perspective. That cloud in your image really is quite impressive.

  35. You have the same fascination I have with the skies. WOW!

  36. Thanks everyone for all your kind feedback and wonderful words of encouragement! I love sharing my weather knowledge with you. It's a treat to get such wonderful responses to that! I loved hearing everyone's hail stories!

    Ken, It's nothing like what you get over in your neck of the woods... heck, not even severe according to your parameters, but here, it was a BIG DEAL! Grapefruit sized?! Holy guacamole!

    Photo Cache... a storm chaser to the core... sorry about all the work. Hopefully this week will be better for you!

    Merisi, most people don't like hail, and I personally hate to hear of destruction and injuries, but it is really an amazing phenomenon. Tennis ball sized hail would be horribly destructive!

    Klaus, you know me, I'm dew-ing life, Dew-style! I'll be safe, promise. :D My wonderful groom's pic shows two tiny pieces of hail against a blue background.

    Martha, tornadoes can and do happen everywhere! In some places, it's just not as common.

    Barb, sorry about your septic system. Glad you had no flooding though. The hail occurred, right at the interstate at exit 22, and then moved east northeast from there. There was also some downtown and some on Lakeland Highway. It was very cool. Hurricane Jeanne impacted Valdosta with a force.

    Carol, glad you see it my way.

    Shey, I hope you catch it! Thanks for the link!

    Beth, love ya, sis!

    Denise, hope you got a new roof.

    PJ, Sorry for your bad experience with it.

    Robert, baseball size in Maryland. WOW! Unforgettable!

    Arija, Easter egg rain, lol!

    Write girl, thanks! I love it!

    Lakshmi, hope you get to...

    June, can't keep my eyes off it! Thanks!

    Lisa, OFF YOUR EYEBALL!!! At least it didn't have as far to fall that high up!

    Tarolino, Glad you learned from it!

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