Running Free

Running Free

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hail Mother Nature

Driving in hail is an interesting and intense experience. Especially with two inches of water on the road and slurping sloshing cars driving as if they are on surfboards. I was on the road with them and I can attest that surfing and rain and hail do not make a good concoction.

I recently had a hail-full experience. And it was just that - an experience. I cannot say whether it was pleasant or unpleasant. It was just what it was. A hail raising experience complete with rumbles from the sky that made me wonder if what I was seeing, these white roundish crystalline bits popping off the hood of my car and windshield were actually hail. Indeed they were.

And so I say, “hail to the almighty gifts of nature.” Here in California – at least in my town, drivers pretend that rain is something they encounter every day. Thus, they drive crazy—zigging here and zagging there- even crazier in rain than in dry sunny weather. The conditions with which most ‘southerncalies’ are used to driving and living become circumspect in anything less than 70 degrees and balmy.
know a bit about hail formation from my good friend wikipedia, (

Hail forms in storm
clouds when supercooled water droplets freeze on contact with condensation nuclei, such as dust or dirt. The storm's updraft blows the hailstones to the upper part of the cloud. The updraft dissipates and the hailstones fall down, back into the updraft, and are lifted up again. The hailstone gains an ice layer and grows increasingly larger with each ascent. Once a hailstone becomes too heavy to be supported by the storm's updraft, it falls from the cloud.

In large hailstones,
latent heat released by further freezing may melt the outer shell of the hailstone. The hailstone then may undergo 'wet growth', where the liquid outer shell collects other smaller hailstones. Imagine that!

The sun was out while the rain poured itself down upon the ground in little miniature rounds of ice. Plunk! Plink! Plunk! Gdunk! These were the noises surrounding me as I gripped the wheel trying to stay safe and sane.

I tried to steer with one hand and when I got to a stop light I tried to snap a photo of this amazing sight. Above me the cloud formation was amazing - to my left there was a rainbow that reflected iridescent colors of sherbet along the perimeter of the sky.

If only I could get the windshield wipers timed to stay down while I took a picture.
Hail is one of those pieces of nature that has always fascinated me.

And now, three days after the initial interaction with the said hail I find myself trying to get some errands done and find myself unexpectedly being pummeled with shards of glass - no actually – shards of ice- ouch!

Hail to the almighty gifts of nature-is it possible to return this particular cadeau of Mother Nature and receive a credit on say, another rainbow?

Forget the errands; I am going back inside the house. My fascination with hail is ended….

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