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Giant Hailstorm

South Plains, Texas - May 12, 2005

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May_12_10

We were in the "Bear's Cage", caught between a tornado and the giant hail that was now wrapping around it. We had no choice but to retreat at the last second as we were on the edge of the circulation. Dave Patrick from Fergus, Ontario was there as well and his video camera instantly fogged up from the rapid drop in air pressure. Our new problem was the giant hail that was now pounding us like an angry gorilla on the roof of the van. We sustained a lot of damage including a smashed windshield & passenger rear window, destroyed windshield wipers, a damaged antenna and various other dents. The baseballs that came through the side window showered the passengers in the back with huge shards of glass and each time the windshield would take another hit, I'd have glass bits flying at me and landing in my lap. Some other chasers (Chris Kridler, Dave Lewison, Scott McPartland & Pete Venture) got pounded up even worse than us with tremendous damage to their vehicles. We even saw a Saturn (with its dent resistant side panels) get a fist sized hole pierced through the door panel. This was the most intense hail I've ever experienced. It was huge, fast and rock hard.

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Here is a radar image of the supercell thunderstorm that produced the tornadoes and giant hail on May 12th. You can see that we were "in the hook" of the storm while the curtains of monstrous hail wrapped around us.

Radar May 12th