It came from the sky

The good news is that none of the bikes were hurt.

A couple weeks back I was taking the morning off work to hang out with my brother. As we were plotting a bike ride down town to get some lunch, we looked up over the mountains and noted extremely ominous clouds closing in. We thought better of the ride and just as I was explaining to my brother how hard it had hailed the day before, we heard a mighty pthunk as a large hailstone hit the roof. We went out on the porch and watched as really big hailstones fell every few seconds.
sleepy brother holding initial hailstone
Sleepy brother and initial hailstone

As the frequency and size of hailstones increased, I noticed a roar coming from the south, I thought it was wind, but I realized I was hearing the core of the hailstorm moving up the street toward the house. Crap. The storm got pretty intense, the videos here don't quite do it justice.
initial stages

toward the end

It was sort of amusing until Elena came running to say that the skylights had all broken and there was hail and broken skylight all over the kitchen. The post storm tally was 5 broken skylights, decent water damage in the kitchen floors below the skylight, my brothers rental car was decimated (he had the insurance), both of the vw's had dents on the rear third, cracked tail lights and broken rear wipers ($3000 in damage according to the insurance company), dented gutters.
Northern over kitchen skylight

Eastern over cats skylight

The roof seems OK, no leaking, but it looks worse for the wear. The insurance adjuster for the house came by, but we are waiting for the results. It could have been a lot worse. We already had a contractor out to asses the roof/skylights and will replace the skylights soon with tempered glass ones as well as possibly replacing the roof. We will also likely get the wood floor redone in the kitchen as it is raised and starting to warp.


The yard was carnage. The whole house smelled like sage because of the shredding that the giant sage plants took out front. The fruit trees were shorn of most fruit and alot of leaves.
Apricot tree carnage

Tomatoes, peppers and pumpkin plants were reduced to bare stalks, as were the roses and raspberries.

Pumpkin plant, this had big flowers the day before
This was a pretty healthy pumpkin plant

I spent some nervous time up on the roof covering the skylights while followup thunderstorms blew in. Thanks to neighbors and friends we were able to get enough tarps and plywood to cover it quickly.

Storms recede
The storm recedes

Pretty much every house and RV skylight in the neighborhood had damage, lots of roofs were completely totaled. Many cars were totaled out due to hail damage and many car windshields were broken completely, especially on cars that have low angle windows like prius and other hondas.

The variety of hailstones that fell were pretty interesting,
initial morphology
Initial stages of the storm
Golf balls with baseball size agglomerations
Golfballs with half a baseball hails.

Again, the upshot was that it was way more exciting than it needed to be, but it could have been worse. I guess this is a pretty regular occurrence in places of the country where I have never lived, but hail at this level is pretty new to me. The roof still works and all the bikes are OK.
more photos
The end.


Margo said...

We had some lovely showers down here in Santa Fe last night.
Things like this happen in Los Alamos!

Chad said...

Thanks for posting this. Our tenant reported a cracked skylight at our place. Sounds like every skylight for our whole complex needs to be replaced. Youch!

Aili said...

this is crazy! I hope the insurance covers it.

Tarik Saleh said...

It has been an interesting monsoon season, it seems the rains have been coming in from the north instead of the usual western attack, we have had 3 intense hailstorms and then this super intense one so far. But I am not complaining, any rain is good rain, even if it takes out your skylights.

Yeah it was a doozy. The one the day before was the worst one I had ever seen until this one, so the thunderstorms have been pretty good this year. Fortunately the town has a new code and only tempered glass or other crack resistant ones will be allowed, so this should not happen again, now the roofs however....

I am sure they will cover most of the obvious stuff, the roof is a toss up. home ownership! horay!

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