Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A very heavy hailstorm

In Mysore, hailstorms are not common.  A couple of hailstorms during pre-monsoon in the month of May are to be expected.  They are sudden, heavy and usually towards the evening and arrive after some long, hot days accompanied by thunder and lightning.  Hailstones/hails would fall only for a short while when the shower starts.  Kids and elders rush out of the house when they hear the tip-tap sounds on their roofs to gather hails before they stop. It is said that eating a few of those would alleviate any stomach problem.  I am not sure how far this is true.

On Sunday last, it rained hail for nearly ten minutes which I feel is the longest in my time, at least, but the rain continued with its ferocity for an hour.  Our cricket club had a league game in the nearby town of Mandya, which is about an hour's drive [just 26 miles, but takes one hour due to the ugly presence of several speed-breakers and that too in the 'highway'].  The game was over two hours early at 3 pm and our team was returning to Mysore in two cars.  We could see a thick dark cloud cover over our city at a distance as we were closing in.

The first raindrop hit our car's windshield as we were passing next to the now defunct KR Mill building.  We were caught in the heavy hailstorm between toll gate and Banni Mantap. Visibility was just 20 feet or so, trees were swaying, smaller end twigs had been blown off the trees and there was a heavy fall of hails on the car which was being maneuvered slowly.  It was stalled beneath a small Gulmohar tree to protect from the impact from the crashing hailstones in great numbers.  They have a potential to crack the windshield.

I felt 'imprisoned' inside the car watching a grand and rare event through the closed car window.  I felt strong urges to escape, get soaked and eat a few of those of hailstones.  If it was my own car, I would have escaped to eat and soak! The hails here had a transparent outer and a white inner core, about the size of a XXL peanut.  What we were seeing outside the car was a beautiful thick carpet of pearly ice pellets all over!   What a sight, albeit for a few minutes!  None of my car-mates took pictures from their mobile phone camera.  Two of them had [I am still mobile-less].

To recreate and record  the rare scene I have grabbed two images from the web that resembled to what I really saw.  I could see them melt away quickly in the rain before we started our slow journey even as rain continued unabated. 

I thought my family would have enjoyed the hails back home.  But I was told it was 'just rain' here. Rain had eased by the time I was dropped at home. 

Let me briefly recall another hailstorm experience in the year 1976.  Again, it was May.  My street-friend Shankar and I were on our bicycles visiting my brother who was camping with the National Cadet Corps through his high school.  The camp site was at the foot of Chamundi Hill about 3 miles away.  On our return, we were caught unawares by a sudden cloudburst accompanied by a heavy hailstorm.  We were passing through an open field with no trees or any place for taking shelter.  The hails were striking my head and hands so heavily that it was pleasantly painful! It was an experience in itself!  In an hour the rain abated.  Both of us were completely soaked as we continued to pedal back home.  

1 comment:

Gardenwife said...

When I was about 11 or 12, a hailstorm hit while I was riding my bicycle home from town. The velocity of the hail, coupled with my own movement, made for some painful "pings" off my head and body! Here in the US, the storms sometimes produce hail the size of grapefruit! The hail I rode through was only about pea-sized, thank goodness.