Harrah Hailburst

Harrah Hailburst

The vinyl siding on the west (near) side of this home was riddled with holes when a 70 to 90 mph downburst drove hail up to baseball size into the wall.  Note the “shadow” under the roof overhang where there was little damage.  Based on the width of the overhang and the westerly wind direction, one can easily figure the impact angle of the hail, then deduce a reasonable range of wind speeds based on that angle and on terminal fall speeds of hail that size.  Surveying the damage, from a storm the day before, involved much more than F-scale estimations!  We drove through many area roads, plotted damage location and intensity, mapped directions of fallen trees and debris flight paths for analyzing wind streamlines, interviewed residents who swore it was a tornado because of the roar, tactfully dealt with impatient media members wanting premature ratings on the spot, and got our shoes caked in nasty red mud.  But making an accurate and precise contribution to science and weather records was well worth it.  I later returned to reshoot this image, which has appeared in several publications.

Harrah OK (22 Sep 98) Looking ENE

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