I’ve mentioned before that I like big weather. This weekend, I got a taste of something I’ve never seen before: golfball+ sized hail.
When I was maybe 14 or 15, I got to see a very cool hail storm. The hail came down like snow – pea-sized but plentiful. It was also raining, and the result was drifts of hail piling up along the gutters and in the grass. I measured afterward, and the drift at the end of my driveway was almost 14 inches deep. The drainage ditch across the street from my house was running full. I’d never seen that happen in all my 14 or 15 years of living there. In fact, it washed a house down the street clean away, and the zoning lines were redrawn in that area as a result.
Mm. Big weather.
But Friday’s hail was different. Dustin is an avid weather radar watcher. He likes to see storms coming. I guess you could say he’s a kind of precipitation cheerleader. The more it rains, the less he has to water the grass, so bring it down! He saw this storm coming, and it was huge.
Our house was sitting right on the edge of the storm. You could look straight up in the sky from our back yard, see sun on one side, and the gloomiest, doomiest clouds ever on the other.
But it wasn’t doing anything. There was wind, but nothing coming down.
I say I heard a thunk on the roof about ten minutes before it started hailing, but Dustin didn’t believe me. There was no reason for that thunking noise, if it wasn’t hail. We don’t live under any coconut trees, after all.
When it did start coming down, it sounded like someone was pelting the house with rocks. Big rocks. We looked out into the yard and saw a fist-sized chunk of ice rolling across the grass. I couldn’t believe it. The cat was outside, so I went hunting for her (she’s fearless and a few pickles short of a peck. Getting clobbered by giant hail sounds exactly like something she’d do).
Finding the size of the hail stones too big to believe, I grabbed and umbrella and went darting out into the yard to snatch a few. Before you call me an idiot, you have to understand that it wasn’t coming down like an avalanche. My umbrella never even got hit (which is probably just as well). I couldn’t help imagining that we were being assaulted by a bunch of little meteors. Bvvooooozh! Bvvvooom! Bang!
The neighbor kid was outside wearing a football helmet doing the same thing I was. Once again, I prove my maturity in the face of weird weather.
The ice attack lasted about 10 minutes then turned into torrential, hurricane-quality rain. I understand my mother’s creek flooded again. Our backyard turned into a swamp and I was glad we don’t have a basement.
In the end, the worst damage we suffered was a knocked-over tomato plant and a couple of bashed “zucchinis.” (The cat survived unscathed.) One of my friends, however, lost the front and back windshields on her car. She was on the interstate at the time with her giant hound dog in the back seat. I can’t imagine how terrifying that must have been. I understand the dog has been making trips out to the garage to eye the car suspiciously. Apparently he thinks it’s the car’s fault.
My sister’s car appears to have been the survivor of a machine-gun fight, though through some act of heroism involving a blanket, the windshield seems to have survived.
The town just north of us was badly pummeled. I understand that 90% or more of the houses were badly damaged by hail and/or flooded. No one has flood insurance because they all live on the side of a big hill.