Hail in Sunlight

January 30, 2016

2209329Sunshine and warmth this early Saturday afternoon on California’s north coast as we catch a nice break from the overwhelming rain lately.
And we got a real-drenching in the early AM, collecting nearly an inch in just a few minutes — seemingly drier for the week ahead.

Mid-morning an unusual event — the odd phenomenon of ‘sunshowers‘ morphing into an even more-odd, ‘sunhailing,’ all caught in bright sunlight.
A near-surreal sight…

(Illustration: ‘Sun Shower,’ by Diane Fairfield, found here.)

Drizzle, or rain during a ‘sunshowers‘ event is just the time when precipitation is either blown in from a distance, or the sun is maybe on an angle — a not-so-unusual occurence, though, not a regular feature of local weather. I’ve seen it happen a couple of times this winter.
But this morning, rain in sunshine quickly became a hailstorm in sunshine.

After basking in a beautiful, bright morning, just finishing my first cup of coffee, surfing the news sites, when I heard a slight pinging noise from the roof, which quickly cascaded into a chattering noise, and looking out onto my back patio — hailstorm in sharp, clear sunshine.
Although small, the hail pounding down for a few minutes and for a few seconds, lightly coated the small plot of ground between the patio and the back fence. Obvious hail in seemingly obvious unnatural light.
And a way-nifty experience…didn’t last long, though, and now we’re back to the standard faded sunshine with ominous, dark clouds seemingly circling in from the north.

Hailstorm in sunshine, maybe not so odd — a happening in a year for the record books, a super-charged El Niño acting whacked.
From Scientific American this morning on El Niño’s effect on California’s drought — and this key point from climatologist Brian Fuchs with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:

Unexpectedly for a strong El Niño, most of the storms so far have hit Northern California, while Southern California has lagged behind in rain and snow totals.
El Niño typically shifts the jet stream to a position where it funnels incoming storms over the southern tier of the U.S., and as we are reaching the time of year when El Niño’s impacts typically peak, we could see a shift to that classic setup, Fuchs said.

Hail in sunshine, also a classic…

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