Saturday, July 01, 2006

We've Got a Hailer

Today's forecast of a slight risk of severe weather proved to be quite accurate. A line of severe thunderstorms rapidly developed across southwest Wisconsin and northeast Iowa between 5:00 and 7:00 this evening, and prompted a severe thunderstorm watch and several severe thunderstorm warnings. A warning was issued for Vernon County at 7:00, the same time I heard (on the scanner) reports of dime to quarter sized hail in Viroqua. It was then I realized that I only had a few short minutes to close the windows, take the towels off the clothesline, and bring a few plants inside before the storm hit. The storm was predicted to be at La Farge at 7:20, and the hail actually began at 7:17, and lasted for about five minutes. The largest hail was about dime-sized, or about three-quarters of an inch in diameter--just big enough to be officially "severe" but not big enough to cause any damage. The winds were quite gusty at the height of the storm--enough so that I was being hit by a few hailstones even as I was standing outside my back door under the carport. While the hail was no bigger than that which fell during the same storm that produced the Viola tornado last summer, I think this hailstorm in general was more intense, with the hail falling harder and for a few more minutes. Also picked up a quick half inch of rain during the storm. Damage was limited to small twigs and leaves strewn about yards and streets, but there was some wind damage reported in Viroqua and Richland Center. Needless to say I had quite the experience this evening, trying to take pictures of the storm, pick up some hailstones and put them in the freezer, listen to the scanner for weather reports, and monitor the latest statements and radar images on the internet.

There remains a slight risk of severe thunderstorms on Sunday. While it appears the greatest threat will remain to our south, a stationary front will be close enough to potentially trigger a few thunderstorms, maybe severe ones, later tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Now I can enjoy a quiet evening, especially since the police have just put an end to the fireworks display going on in my neighborhood. Frankly the storm was more impressive.


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