Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Hailstorm

A summer hailstorm struck at Cedar Bluff this evening. It started out as a sudden shower with those big drops that splat one by one. I had just finished mowing the lawn, poured a glass of wine, and was sitting on the lakeside of the house, watching the clouds form over Lake Huron.

The hail started soon after I moved into the house. First there was a little and the stones were small, maybe a quarter inch. I could hear them hit the windows and the roof. Then the hail started in earnest.

Big chunks of hail fell with heavy rain. The hail continued for 5-7 minutes. I scurried around the house, closing windows, wiping windowsills. It sounded like stones hitting the house. I stayed away from the windows, just in case one would break from the force of the hail and wind.

The storm had not been forecast on the Intellicast or Weather Channel apps that I watch. Here's a photo of the storm, out over Lake Huron, at 7:30 pm. My photos of the storm were taken around 6:51 pm. It's that dark red spot that carries the intensity of the storm and, believe me, I will respect these maps whenever I see them from now on.

The red beets in the garden really took a beating. They survived a battering by a windstorm about three weeks ago. I'm hoping that the plants will pop back from this bruising.

The butternut squash plants might not make it. The leaves are shredded and the blossoms appear to be broken. The plants had begun to set fruit, so there could be some baby squash that were protected that might make it.

This is a tougher image to see. These are dry beans in a field on Premier Road, about two miles in from the shoreline. The hail stripped leaves from the plants which should be just about ready to blossom by this time of the summer.

Hail is created when moisture rises and falls and rises again. That pattern, repeated over and over, is shown in this large hailstone with its fossil-like ice ring pattern.

My miniature roses got hit pretty bad. But plants are tough cookies, especially roses. Maybe the hail will have given them the pruning that I should have done as a gardener.

I have one last thought. I don't have to depend on my garden for food. I can go to the grocery store and farmer's markets. But just think what it was like during the Dust Bowl days or back when gardens were the main source of summer food. Or even now, for families that need the food that only a summer garden can produce.

A hailstorm like the one that just hit this side of The Thumb would be major disaster for many. In a few minutes, so many things can be destroyed. It's a humbling thought.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

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