Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Severe Hail in Stratford

On Monday, October 4, an odd confluence of weather conditions came together in Stratford and Shelton. Around 2PM I thought I saw ice falling from the sky mixed in with the rain. I was ill and at home, and believed I was losing my mind for a minute before realizing, yes, this was hail. It quickly increased in intensity as the rain subsided. It was was up to quarter-size very quickly, with a few around golf ball size. After several minutes it transitioned back to rain. Then, following a short break, the hail came down with renewed fury, even larger but lighter than before. Some of the hail was then even larger than golf balls. You can see all of this in the video I took below after I retrieved my camera from my car...

The storm was only declared a severe thunderstorm after it was all but over in the two towns. Reports poured in from both communities and surprised many meteorologists and forecasters. Suffice it to say it was very odd to have an October thunderstorm, without any lightning that I saw, dump the largest hail I have seen in my life in Connecticut. After shooting the video I went outside to look at the hail and took several pieces inside to photograph. After Ryan Hanrahan of NBC Connecticut saw the following photo he asked if he could put it on the air, and you may have seen it on TV during the 5 and 6PM newscasts.

The pieces I took inside were generally round for the purposes of measuring the size. There were even more oddly-shaped chunks outside. The hail we typically see in Connecticut is much more rounded. I know I missed bigger ones, seen in the last part of the video, as some of the largest broke apart on impact or eluded me during my very fast search. One can imagine that many birds were killed or injured during this sudden deluge of hail. That hail could hurt a human (like me as I ran to the car and back), forget a bird. Given that it was without the fanfare of thunder booming across the land they may have been as surprised as we were.

Video and photo © Scott Kruitbosch

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