Hail Across The LandMay 6th, 2014 at 9:09 am by Jeremy Wheeler under Weather
Hark! I was awakened in the overnight hours by heavy rain, some hail, and numerous text alerts. Storms had traversed across the land. As I awoke to check the radar, I had noticed very heavy rain and a couple of severe thunderstorm warnings. T’was still early in the night. So I had gone back to my bed rest. T’was a busy night for meteorologist Doneth Slatereth.
In all seriousness there were some strong storms last night which was pretty unusual considering the temps were rather cool. There were numerous reports of hail both severe and non-severe. The official storm reports tallied up to about 5 in the region.
Severe hail is now 1″ or larger. It used to be 3/4″ (penny sized) or larger, but people were becoming desensitized to severe thunderstorm warnings. So the National Weather Service decided to increase the criteria. Also 3/4″ typically doesn’t do too much damage outside of crops. Here was one photo sent in of the hail last night. This one comes from the city of Carrollton.
This photo was sent in by Jennifer Booth. You can clearly see hail covering the deck during the night. This next one comes from Chris in Suffolk. He got a close up shot of some hail.
There were numerous reports like this. Hail was mostly pea to quarter sized, but some got to the size of a ping-pong ball. If you get hit with that you will be hurting for sure. Possibly even sent to the hospital.
So the reason we even had hail was unique. Temperatures at the surface were only in the mid 50s. The humidity wasn’t even that high. However, the jet stream was focused over our region, and I believe a smaller pocket of higher winds (jet streak) had moved over our region.
So despite a lack of instability the air was lifted from above through something called divergence. This is basically the air spreading out. Air comes up from above to compensate, and storms love lifting air. Also with the colder temperatures overall, the freezing level was lower in the atmosphere than usual. Raindrops could freeze sooner. So there was more of a threat from hail. Voila!
Speaking of temperatures…The jetstream does like to ride along the boundary between warm and cold air. Look at the forecast high temperatures for today.
There is a huge difference in temperatures from southeast to northwest. Temps are running about 10-15 degrees above average to our southwest. We are on the cool side of things today.
Outside of the hail last night we also had some heavy rain. My weather watcher on the lower Eastern Shore had a half inch.
Looks like most of the rain was over the Southside and the Middle Peninsula. The Peninsula was in a drier spot this time.
Today we’ll dry out, and we’ll see some nice weather this afternoon. Highs will be in the upper 60s to low 70s with a northeast breeze. Tonight we could see a few more showers, but it shouldn’t be as bad as last night. Stay tuned. Tomorrow we’ll see partly cloudy skies. Winds will be a bit more out of the southeast than east. So we should warm up a bit more. Highs will be in the low/mid 70s.
By Thursday a warm front will lift through the region. The breeze will be more southerly. So highs will be in the low 80s on Thursday and mid-upper 80s on Friday. The models look later with the rain for Saturday. So I pushed it back to Saturday night. Then, unfortunately, there looks to be a few showers on Sunday (Mother’s Day). We’ll see if we can’t push that rain back some more as well.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler