The Hail Blizzard That Rock and Rolled

by Amy on August 11, 2009

A few weeks ago we had a hail storm blow in; literally. The strong winds mixed with hail had me spooked thinking tornado (which is unusual around here) because the wind was blowing so strongly. We had a downpour of heavy rain but the hail was devastating. It’s hard to tell how big the hail was because it came down so hard and intensely for about five minutes that we couldn’t see out the window. It looked like a whiteout blizzard and the hail broke up upon landing on the side of the house, the ground, roofs, car hoods, etc. Luckily no windows were broken and hail damage to vehicles wasn’t as bad as we thought, but it pulverized our vegetable garden (my husband said it needed an excuse to die, because his beloved sweet corn wasn’t getting very tall anyway but I didn’t feel that way and was saddened). The hail thinned out dead branches in our trees along with some wimpy green ones and our yard was covered with them.

Our dog Pepper, didn’t know what to think because we let her ride out the hailstorm in the house and she’s normally not allowed inside. She was well behaved and stayed on the front door rug the whole time. After the storm dissipated, the whole family and Pepper loaded up in the pickup to drive around and investigate the area.
We didn’t get a rainfall measurement because all of our rain gauges were shattered to bits. Old dams were filled that I’ve never seen hold water. The hillside east of our house had wide streaks where rain washed pine needles off the hill and deposited them mixed with hail and tree branches into the north east corner of our field at home. The hail took out what we intended to hay there but amazingly, five miles north of us on the other side of Pringle the hay fields received mostly heavy rain.
The rain came down so hard it managed to wash out a huge rock that rolled into our field from a small tree-covered knoll south of our hayfield at Pringle. My husband guesstimated that the rock weighed a ton. It rolled down the hill like a wheel gaining momentum and sheering off a hunk of bark from a tree in it’s decent and turning before stopping. When he first saw it from a distance he was baffled by its presence for a while. He thought it was a small bale at first but all the bales had been moved off the field and he couldn’t understand how he’d missed one. When a couple of neighbors saw my husband and son out there looking at it the next day, they both drove out to meet them and everybody congregated at the rock to investigate how it got there and followed its path up the hill.
The rock left a trail of divots that made it easy to follow its path all the way up to where it was when it came loose. When my husband and son told me about it I had a hard time figuring out what they were talking about because the hill they referred too didn’t seem high enough or have a lot of rocks that I remembered to warrant a ton rock coming loose and rolling into the field. I had to see for myself and had my son give me the rock rolling “tour.”
Seeing the rock, the path it made and its former location was pretty amazing. One thing’s for sure; Mother Nature always leaves her mark in the most unexpected and remarkable ways.

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