- HAIL & LIGHTNING
Hail is one of several
phenomena I like to pursuit when storm observing. I usually do so when the threat
for a tornado is relatively minimal and the storm structure isn't good enough to put some
distance between me and the hail shaft. When I encounter hail greater then 2 inches
in diameter, I call it in to the local National Weather Service Office.
Multi-Image shots of the variety of hail we got in West Texas on
May 5, 2006. We found a unique spiked hail stone as well.
Large hail stones covering the ground in West Texas on May 5,
Hail impaled the ground in Eastern Montana, leaving holes in the
Hail storms can make a gorgeous scene out of an otherwise bleak landscape.
This was taken on June 1st, 2003, while we looked southeast on the backside of a storm in
eastern New Mexico. The hail was small on this particular day, however, it still
made our day quite successful.
An interesting hail stone that fell 30 minutes prior to finding
it. It fell near Kodak, South Dakota, on June 7, 2005. Note the small thin
spike and clear coating.
- This is a hail
storm in progress with the right hand image showing some of the stones we collected when
the hail subsided. Notice the soft cloudy center with a hard thick coating around
it. This thick clear coating allowed the stones to fall and hit the ground without
breaking, allowing the stone to do more damage to crops and property. These stones
were collected on June 3, 2003, in Eastern New Mexico.
Small hail covering the ground west of Tucumcari, New Mexico, on
May 14, 2005.
- Here is
another image showing the ring structure of several hail stones that fell near Graford,
TX, on April 5, 2003. These stones were probably 3 - 4 inches in diameter, however,
they melted into disk shapes allowing the physical structure to be seen.
Quarter to golf ball sized hail pounding vehicles as they travel
west on I-40 near Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Image was taken on May 27, 2005.
Blair shows a handful of golf ball hail near Moses, New Mexico, which is 5 miles from the
Texas border. When we called in this report we had to come up with a different town
to show our proximity since nobody knew where Moses was. We also called the National
Weather Service in Amarillo, Texas, since the storm was heading into their CWA, however,
the storm quickly died shortly after crossing the border.
large hail fell near Woodson, TX on April 5, 2003. Meteorologist Steve Vanderburg
showing off some of the large stones. Unfortunately when the bigger stuff was
falling we were not able to get out and collect it since our lives would have been in
danger. During the peak we had stones exceeding 4 inches in diameter. One of
those stones you see on the left hand image came through the side window, making
collection of hail a little easier that day!
The results of large hail on a chase vehicles.
- Hail of
various shapes and sizes from a tornadic supercell in the Nebraska Panhandle. Notice
again, some of these are cloudy and soft, others are clear and rock hard.
to the May 5, 2002 Happy, TX tornado, we received tennis ball to baseball sized hail on
the western edge of the supercell. We got out when the hail subsided and took some
pictures of the rainbow to the east. The right hand image shows Dave Fick holding a
tennis ball sized hail stone. We were having a hail streak that week with our front
window breaking on May 4th near Midland, TX, May 5th south of Amarillo, TX, and May 6th
east of Newton, KS.
- This is
some of the most interesting hail I have ever seen. Many of these stones had a bunch
of clear spikes on them. This is most likely caused by the stone spinning while
aloft, with enough centrifugal force to cause these icicle like spikes. This hail
occurred on May 27, 2002 south of Ralls, TX.
- This is
an interesting set of hail stones that occurred in Eastern Kansas on May 6, 2002.
Some of these were completely cloudy and soft, others almost completely clear and very
strong. Such a diverse group of hail stones leads me to believe this storm was an
equal opportunity hail producer!
- Lightning is something I shoot year round
giving conditions are favorable. My favorite time to shoot lightning is after the
passage of an MCS where both unobstructed CG's and anvil crawlers are usually seen.
Behind MCS's after the rain stops, ceilings are usually high, thus giving you a great view
of any lightning that occurs. My best lightning is shot when it's extremely close,
which makes taking pictures of this phenomena much more dangerous then anything else I do
related to storm observing. To mitigate any danger, I try to shoot lightning with a
window camera mount, thus allowing me to shoot stills in "bulb" mode while
inside my vehicle.
- While visiting
family I decided to try my luck at capturing a lightning bolt during frequent heavy bursts
of rainfall. I managed to get one, however slightly off-center, still turned out
great! I hope to print out this image and send it to the owner of the home across
the street. Taken on August 12, 2003 during a stormy summer night in Texas.
- This is some
very close lightning near my home in Norman, Oklahoma. It was close enough that I
didn't want to risk getting a better shot out in the field in front of my house. I'm
near my back door taking this shot while I stand inside the house. This was taken in
October of 2000.
Lightning was quite a show east of Emporia, Kansas, on May 18,
- On the
backside of an MCS near Rock Spring, Texas, on May 24, 2001. After driving through
steep canyons on the western edge of the Central Texas foothills near the Mexican border,
we turned north to head home. We luckily were greeted by an MCS that had some very
particular shot doesn't seem to demonstrate the lightning as much as it does the cloud
structure lit up by the bolts. It sort of gives the images some action as you can
see the cloud streaks since these clouds were all in motion. This was taken on
September 8, 2001.
of these images appear in the photo book
by Mike Hollingshead
and Eric Nguyen (now available)
- THIS PAGE AND ITS IMAGES ARE
COPYRIGHTED BY ERIC NGUYEN.
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