The picture in the Press Democrat this morning of hail that dropped from Sunday nights storm was impressive…for the North Coast.  Rarely do we get that size here. I guess it could be considered nearing golf ball size hail.  For once  I didn’t chase the storm (ever photographed lightning in pouring rain?)  that bombed in from the coast.  My family and I just enjoyed the light show.

My first newspaper gig in Midland, Texas gave me the opportunity to chase a lot of severe weather.  On a day off I raced and chased a tornadic storm south of Midland.  Needless to say, the storm itself was spitting out some really impressive lightning.  Pretty soon it was torrential rain.  As I drove closer to the storm, the hail started.  The first stone that struck (my brand new pick-up) left a dent in the hood. Whack!  Needless to say, I stopped chasing the storm.  It wasn’t worth the damage it could do.

Listening to a police scanner all the while, I tracked the storm from a distance and wound up shooting pictures of damage it left behind. Here is what BIG hailstones look like.

Hailstones south of Midland, Texas, 1986. / Kent Porter Archives

The hailstone on the right is as big as a tennis ball.  Really.  The storm caused over a million dollars in damage to a trailer park, punching holes through windows and roofs of trailers.

Now, that’s hail.