All images and text © copyright Gene
unless otherwise indicated.
Experienced chasers know not to get in the wake of an old supercell. Swinging wide to the south side before making a run for the inflow area will save time in the long run. Early spring storms riding on a 150 knot jet stream will speed away leaving chasers spinning in the ice. Hard hail, unlike snow is like trying to drive on ball bearings. Much of this and the chase is over. This image was captured in the desolate county southwest of Odessa, Texas. Chasers seek wide open county with few if any obstructions to limit the view of the clouds. A common row of high lines are considered a detriment to cloud photography. The isolated areas of the high plains from southwest Texas to the western Dakotas provide the chaser with unobstructed views of the sky.
Hail in the wake of a tornadic supercell thunderstorm. Severe damage results to residents to include roofing, siding and windows. Note the non evergreen trees are stripped of all leaves and small limbs.
Deep hail can easily worsen a flash flood situation. Since ice (hail) floats on water it tends to clog drainage paths, culverts and grates. In flat country as found in the high plains states, water, mud and hail combinations begin to cover the roadways fast. This shot was from an National Severe Storm's Lab (NSSL) chase vehicle in the wake of a severe storm near Lubbock, Texas. About three to four inches of hail is floating on top of a couple feet of flooding runoff.
Looking like a winter scene with green trees, three inches of marble hail dropped the afternoon temperature over twenty degrees. Driving can be a real nightmare on hard stones. The severity of damage caused by a storm like this may depend on the wind speed while the hail is in progress. Storms that produce high wind in addition to hail will crack windows and damage siding on.
A west Texas hailstorm is beginning to clear from the west. Before it's over move damage will occur to property in this small town. This hail was about the size of golf balls and made for one to two foot high splashes when they hit. Unfortunately the businesses, houses, vehicles and wheat fields received the same treatment, for about 20 minutes. More than enough to keep the local auto body shops busy for months. Storms of this intensity are common place in the Texas Panhandle, a favorite hangout for tornado chasers.
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