Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hail of a Thing

"HAIL!" shouted Lillian, charging through the house to the front door. "IT'S HAILING!!!"

I dropped the meat fork I was messing with and scurried after her. We stepped out onto the front porch to see hail bouncing along the sidewalk to the tune of thunder peals. "Look how big they are!" She cried in high glee. "I'm going to get some!"

We don't often see hail here; we can go years at a time without thunderstorms, and few of them have hail in them. This was a doozy, however -- those hailstones were bigger than fat peas, and they were coming down hard. When they began pinging off us and the front of the house, we retreated, and simply ran from window to window, laughing and marveling at the miracle of ice flying down out of the sky.

The weather service had forecast a possible thundershower for Friday afternoon, and they got it right in that regard. It did rain, and it did thunder, but they neglected to point out that it would come down so hard that in a matter of minutes, we had two inches of water standing on the back patio, and a veritable river streaming down the south side of the house, and piles of hailstones four inches deep against the fence.

Lil ran outside to glory in the elements for about five seconds -- hailstones hurt when they hit. And the temperature had dropped from a balmy 68 degrees to 48 in about ten minutes.

The little chair is on the front porch, which was sheltered, mostly. By that point, the hail and downpour had stopped, and I had returned to the kitchen and the pot roast I had been browning (it was a little dark, but not burnt), glad of the heat from the stove.

Bernie and I went for a walk later, just to peer at the piles of hail still melting in peoples' gardens and lawns. The air was scrubbed about as clean as it ever gets here in the Central Valley; in addition, if there were any leaves waiting to drop in this area, they were now done.

The geraniums in the background took a bit of a beating, and we lost some tiny oranges that had just set, but the blueberries, the tomato blossoms, and the cherry tree were fine.

The only thing I should have done was shovel up some of that hail and put it in the freezer, so that I can look at it on Wednesday, when the temps are supposed to soar into the 90s.

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