Exploding Hailstone

Exploding Hailstone

Severe hailstones can shatter when striking pavement; and I was fortunate enough to capture the split second when one did just that, disintegrating violently into a radial spray of icy shrapnel.  This might be the only known still photograph of a hailstone explosion during a storm.  Even if not, it’s an extremely difficult event to capture!  The scene reminds me eerily of artists’ depictions of asteroids striking planets. We had taken shelter under an unoccupied drive-through bay of a defunct diner, as the looming storm complex barreled into towntwo supercells merging and accelerating into one frightfully profuse hail machine.  We had decided not to attempt to outrun this accelerating storm on roads under one-lane construction, and instead, scouted protection in town from which to behold the wild spectacle.  My ears rang for half an hour afterward, thanks to the brutal loudness of high volumes of 13-inch diameter hail slamming off the sheet-metal awning overhead.

Yuma CO (21 Jun 10) Looking S.
40.119, -102.734

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