All images and text © copyright Gene Moore unless otherwise indicated.
Visualize a baseball dropped from a 747 flying at 30,000 feet; it's speed reaches 120 MPH, visualize you going 70 MPH under this big ugly cloud......bam!
Actually, hailstones make different sounds depending on how hard they are and the size. The little ones go click, crack or pick; the marbles announce whack or smack. The golf balls say bam, especially when they are hard enough to bounce off the pavement......ice bouncing, that's an amazing concept. The baseballs actually hit hard enough to hurt your ears, bam real loud. Then comes what the chasers call Gorilla hail. Imagine the sound of a sludge hammer smashing the top of the roof in, the plastic headliner stays popping across the car, glass shatters from the front windshield into the back seat. You can feel the impact as the whole car shakes.....then the rest of them come. Directly in front of you, four high priced BMW's are sitting in the middle of the road under the overpass.
Baseballs litter the road. The arm of the hook is less than a mile ahead. We still have the windshield.....amazing. A tornadic supercell crosses I-40 at Shamrock, TX. We saw the tornado come down and we know it's in there, but now the back side is rain wrapped. The locals are smart, they know better and pull to the side of the road. Since the largest hail is just northeast of the tornadic mesocyclone and sometimes wraps around it, this is a sure sign the chaser is close to perhaps more than they bargained for.
Core and hook punching, the big taboo of storm chasing. Everyone says don't do it. The real limiting factor is simply how many windshields can you afford at 250 dollars a pop.
Another trip to the body shop, and it's only April; this can wait until June. If I fix the hood and turn up the stereo it's easy to forget what the sides look like. My wife complains, she can't see out her side of the windshield, but my side is okay. Heck I'm the driver.........just kidding.
Dropping south on #385 just north of Burlington, Colorado and riding high. We just nailed a tornado from the Anton storm an hour ago, and it split. This is the right mover; we're almost by it. A huge mesocyclone churns about 2 miles to the southeast. We're on a roll and this is the high risk move we usually get away with. Today it blows up in our face, literally. Safety glasses are a must, but I still eat glass. We see larger stones just to our south, and the east wind is getting very strong. With the windshield almost in our laps we give up the supercell; victory was sight. A string of tornado reports fill the radio from just to our south. We turn away from the wind and ride out the core.....the day is lost.
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