July 24, 2014
Photographer: Lisa Gonnelli
Summary Authors: Lisa Gonnelli; Jim Foster
In late May of 2014 southwestern New Jersey was hammered by a powerful wind and hail storm. The biggest hail stones were the size of golf balls. My house sustained $18,000 in damage and my car cost $7,000 to repair. The storm didn't last long, but was really scary -- an experience I never want to repeat again. I still have a few stones in my freezer.
For hail stones to reach these proportions, strong updrafts are required. It's these air currents that keep the stones aloft and allow them to be repeatedly coated with layers of water that freeze each time they're blasted upward. Only when the hails stones become too heavy for the updraft to lift them, or are shot completely out of the storm, will they fall to the surface, crashing to the ground at approximately 120 mph (190 km/h). Photos taken on May 22, 2014.