Thursday, April 12, 2012

Balmorhea Hail Storm; West Texas April 11, 2012

In the video collage above, that white stuff on the ground is hail, not snow. In some places it was 4 inches deep. I parked under the covered area of Blanca's drive-thru convenience store (see photo below) and began taking shots. The couple and their smiling daughter in the video were under the covered area in the car ahead of me. Everyone was excited to the point of giddiness.  I'm sure it was the violence of the storm, it's thundering hail, combined with the ozone in the air, that produced such intense excitement in everyone.

Photo taken under the drive-thru, Balmorhea Grocery
When the storm let up I drove out to my friend's house to check on her.  On the way I passed the Catholic church, their extended lawn covered in hail stones so thick it looked like snow. Then I drove past Carrasco's and on to I-10.  The freeway  was covered in what was reported to have been 4 inches of hail.  

Later, at Carrasco's, an employee showed me the video she took standing in the parking lot.  Her video had captured what appeared to be a rotating wall cloud, the initial stages of a tornado.

In the collage of photos I presented in the video above, the elderly lady in the pink nursing scrubs is my friend, Rosalie Dominguez, 80.  The pink farm house is her's. Wind-driven hail broke out 3 windows on the north side of her home.  The men working on her windows after the storm are her son, George, and his father-in-law. 

Rosalie had remembered the tornado in Saragosa several years ago and it heightened her terror during the storm.  I'm sure other townsfolk had the same traumatic flashbacks during yesterday's hailstorm, a storm that pounded metal roofs with such violence that it drove some people to the inner rooms of their homes seeking safety, and others to their storm shelters.

The last two shots in the video collage are of Rosalie's house at a distance with the Davis Mountains in the background.

The video below was captured by storm chasers north of Amarillo where four-feet of hail accumulated in some places, closing down highways and stranding travelers.

The Texas Panhandle had it much worse. In the photo to the right, a Porter, Texas fireman stands next to 4-ft drifts of hail north of Amarillo.