What a Saturday!
The weather computer models for several days indicated a few storms possible for Saturday, April 19. The Storm Prediction Center out of Norman, Oklahoma, which is responsible for alerting the country several days in advance of potential severe weather, just mentioned a general thunderstorm threat for that Friday in our area. But, as our Saturday progressed, I could see the storms building in intensity and moving up from Mexico. Within hours, we were hit with strong winds, heavy rain and hail that layered several feet thick in spots.
Hail is formed when raindrops are lifted extremely high in the cloud via a severe thunderstorm updraft wind. The updraft winds can sometimes reach speeds up to 100 miles per hour. The raindrops become supercooled (get much colder in high altitude) and freeze into ice. As the ice pellets are lifted and tossed within the cloud (both up and down), they collide with other ice fragments and begin to enlarge and grow, much like a snowball increases in size as you roll it down the hill. When the ice can no longer be suspended in the updraft due to the weight of the ice, it falls to the ground in the form of hail -- pea-, golf ball-, tennis ball-size or even larger.
Below are some of the severe weather reports across the area related to rain and hail, courtesy of the National Weather Service, KVIA viewers and weather watchers
Saturday, April 19, 2014
El Paso Airport: .45” rain
2 miles W/NW of El Paso : Quarter size hail – 1.21” rain
5 miles N of El Paso : 1.67” rain
KVIA Studios (West side): Pea size hail
Hudspeth County (Tammen Ranch): 2.80” Rain
Tornillo (2 miles SE): Penny Hail / Damaged Pecan Trees
18 miles SW of Deming: Nickel size hail
6 miles E/SE Tornillo: Golf ball size hail
20 miles north of Fort Hancock : 2” rain