September 10, 2014

Weather woes continue with late-season hail

Rows of corn stood tall in fields along Highway 25 after last week’s storm, giving the casual observer an initial impression that the storm might not have been as bad as it seemed.
A short distance off the highway the damage was evident, where fields of corn stalks were broken and battered, and grain and other crops were laid nearly flat in the fields.
“It was a bit of an unusual storm, because of the long duration overnight and especially this late in the season,” National Weather Service Bismarck Office Meteorologist Zack Hargrove said. “We definitely had some wide-spread hail and a fairly decent amount of wind damage.
“There was a swath from McKenzie County down into Dunn County -- which got hit fairly hard, and the storm just kept traveling through Mercer and Oliver counties, too. There were also some reports of hail in north Burleigh County from the same storm.”
The NWS Bismarck office received several reports from Hannover and Center between 12:45 and 1 a.m. of hailstones ranging from one to 2.75 inches, with two reports of 1.75-inch hail.
“We either make phone calls to check with our spotters or our spotters call in [the reports],” Hargrove said, noting that sometimes reports come from the general public calling in or posts to the NWS Bismarck office’s Facebook page.
Trained spotters in Hannover and Center reported, one noting that “golf-ball-size hail broke the west side windows out of a home” and the other reporting “pea to quarter-sized hail lasted eight minutes.”
“Hail is reported by its size,” Hargrove said, noting that storm reports are typically issued only if the hail is more than three-quarters of an inch in diameter. “For instance, in the Center report, the 2.75-inch hail is is baseball size, and 1.75-inch is what we consider golf ball size. To be severe hail, we typically consider that to be one-inch, which is about the size of a quarter.”
In Oliver County, damage has been reported from west of Hannover to as far east as Cross Ranch and River roads. Reported damage has been mostly in rural areas and ranged from very severe damage to vehicles, houses, barns and outbuildings to minor damage to window and door screens. Initial reports indicated some total crop losses as well.
“I’ve heard reports of up to tennis ball size,” Security Insurance & Investments Agent Carl Goetz said the day of the storm. “A farmer I talked to said his crops ‘had been cut off at the knees’.”

The Weather Network