The storm that erupted over Baltimore county during the 5 PM hour on Tuesday June 23 was more rare than first thought. It was only the fourth time recorded in Maryland to have hail over 4 inches in diameter. It left craters in lawns and blew out car windows in the path. The National Weather Service acknowledged the special event with this statement:
“AROUND 545 PM…A HAILSTONE WAS FOUND IN THE FRONT YARD OF A RESIDENCE 2 MILES NORTH-NORTHEAST OF TIMONIUM MARYLAND THAT MEASURED 4.0 INCHES IN DIAMETER…
GRAPEFRUIT SIZE. THIS IS ONLY THE 4TH CASE OF HAIL MEASURING 4 OR MORE INCHES IN MARYLAND FROM RECORDS DATING BACK TO 1950. THE LARGEST HAIL ON RECORD IN MARYLAND SINCE 1950 IS 4.5 INCHES… SOFTBALL SIZE. HAIL THIS SIZE HAS BEEN RECORDED TWICE…ONCE ON APRIL 28 2002 IN CHARLES COUNTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE SUPERCELL THAT PRODUCED THE LA PLATA EF4 TORNADO. THE OTHER 4.5 INCH HAILSTONE FELL ON JUNE 18 1970 IN THE PHOENIX-JACKSONVILLE-COCKEYSVILLE AREA OF BALTIMORE COUNTY. THE OTHER KNOWN 4.0 INCH DIAMETER HAIL REPORT IN MARYLAND WAS ON JULY 31 1999 IN NORTHERN BALTIMORE COUNTY NEAR HEREFORD.”
As reported yesterday, large hail damaged was centered around Cockeysville, but extended up to the north to Hunt Valley and south towards Timonium. All on the north side of the Baltimore Beltway. Thankfully no injuries were reported, but if someone was struck with a hailstone that size, it could have killed them.
Note that there are two ways hail can grow to be that large:
Circulation up and down in the cloud many times. Each trip up adds another layer of water droplets that freeze. Look closely and count the rings here. This photo shows the hailstone cut in half with up to 10 trips made.
Many smaller hail stones fusing. The clouds that made these have a lot of energy and heat, yet grow tall enough to rise above the freezing level in the atmosphere. In a pocket of heat, hail stones can melt on the edges, then be forced together and freeze into one larger, odd shaped stone as seen here.
See more photos, video, and radar images at the time the storm peaked here.
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