Hail, Minnesota!

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Jeff Jorgenson, a News Cut reader, sent along this photo, which he took yesterday along Lake Sylvia (3 mi west of Annandale, MN) at 3:35 p.m., about an hour before the system spawned the presumed tornado in Hugo.

How fast is a golf-ball-sized hailstone traveling when it hits the ground?

This site says it’s about the speed of a major league fastball, which leads, naturally, to the question of why more people aren’t killed by hail?

The Internet being what it is — a series of tubes — the answer (or at least an answer) is easily found… like here.


Hail is rarely big enough to be dangerous, and even if it is, a big chunk is unlikely to knock you out. Brooks mentions that most big hail falls in the underpopulated West, which reduces the probability of human injury. Also, when you compare houses getting damaged by hail to people getting damaged by hail, a couple other key differences come to mind: First of all, houses and buildings are much larger than people; the old cliché “it’s as easy as hitting the side of a barn” certainly applies to a real barn. Secondly, during a hailstorm, most people tend to seek shelter, usually inside a house or a car. But the house and the car have nowhere to hide, so they’re left to withstand Mother Nature’s onslaught

Which leads to another question: What about birds? Why aren’t they killed by hail? And the answeran answer — shows that they are.

Flickr has some photos from the Hugo area worth viewing. Find them here.

By the way, if you want to see some lovely shots of post-tornadic Minnesota…

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check these out, shot over the northwestern suburbs last night by local pilot Pete Howell. (Used by permission)