June 27th, 2010


Hail in June

We went for a bicycle ride today. We'd seen in the weather that storms were predicted around 3, so we left before 1pm. The sun was shining; it was a glorious afternoon. Got about five miles from home, and the tornado sirens went off. Uh-oh.

My first reaction was, "Again??" They've been going off a lot lately. I think the level of "siren-worthy storm" has lowered or something. It used to be that it wasn't a Tornado Warning unless an actual funnel had been spotted, but I don't think that's the case anymore. Anyway we agreed we should start meandering back, but we weren't hugely concerned because storms did not seem imminent. Clearly they were on their way, but we figured they were still pretty far.

We briefly looked at the lake I'd been aiming for, then took the short way home. Except that I enjoyed the path through the woods so much I suggested we ride back and do that part again. As we emerged from it the second time, it started sprinkling.

"No worries, we're close to home now," I told M.

"I think we're going to get wet," he said, gesturing to the big storm clouds off to our right. We were heading right. "Directly into the storm!"

It was a hot day, so the thought of being rained on sounded quite nice. I responded cheerfully, "Tally-ho!"

We headed directly home, because despite our joking around we knew it was time. The rain got heavier, and I pointed out that at least it'd cool us off. Plus, riding in the rain can be fun! You just have to get past the initial "oh no I'm getting rained on" reaction.

As we came nearer to the turn-off for our street, the rain was quite heavy indeed. A driver turning left just behind us rolled down her window and called urgently to us, "Tornado warning! There's a tornado warning!"

"Thank you," M called back, and I waved. It was much too much rain to stop and explain to her that we were headed home and would be there soon, but I truly did appreciate her taking the time to warn us.

As we rounded the next corner, the rain started stinging. It was falling pretty hard! On the outer edge of our subdivision by now, we were nearly home. We moved up onto a sidewalk, to be less vulnerable to cars. It was fun though; we were soaked and I was laughing at the adventure. "Let's go faster!"

"I don't think going faster will make us dryer, but okay!" We tore through the wet streets. M yelped though, "Ouch! I think it's starting to hail!"

At first I didn't believe him. I thought it was just big raindrops that were falling fast and hard, feeling like hail. They sure were stinging though... "No really, look at the ground," he told me. I looked, and indeed there were solid chunks landing on the street around us.

However just ahead was our house, and we pulled quickly into the driveway. Now the hail was stinging quite a bit, and I could see large pea-sized chunks of ice landing all around us. As though God was emptying out his ice trays over our head.

I dug through my bag, found the garage-door-opener, and then we were under the roof, safe and sound. We huddled inside the garage watching the storm. The ice bounced all over the driveway -- most peculiar seeing ice falling from the sky on a day that was over 80 degrees!

The hail stopped within five more minutes, and 20 or 30 minutes later the storm was past altogether. Apparently it had just fallen long enough to attack us on the last leg home. I was amused to find a nice welt just over my elbow. I've been marked by nature's fury.... Quite a nice bike-riding adventure.