Every year we get a hailstorm, one strong enough to do some damage to the garden. This year was epic, a storm of biblical proportions (at least it felt like it).
I was home working on a deadline on a stormy Saturday evening. The weather was changing, the light grew dim and thunderclaps could be heard in the distance. The rain started, then the hail. The storm felt brief, intense, fun. I was able to video some of the heavy rain and tried to capture the sound of the pellets hitting the roof.
Here's what I posted on FB: "Holy cow - today's thunder storm was directly over us. The arched shape of the house plus the metal roof plus the green house being pounded on with rain and hail was DEAFENING. I mean it was thumping like a drum, apocalypse style. I was ready to cower in the tub it was that loud, I am not kidding. Unbelievable. That was a first. It was like a vibrating jet engine. Totally insane. Hopefully a once in a lifetime experience."
Little did I know, the real storm had just begun.
After the rain shower and initial hail storm, I heard a humming and stepped outside to investigate. I could see that it was windy over by my neighbors house, but where I stood the air was still and quite palpable. It was no longer an intangible feature but a physical force pressing down on me. The humming was incredibly loud and growing louder by the moment. I started to worry that the creek was flooding. If so I was NOT going to check. Suddenly it felt like a door had been opened and the air moved, the breeze picked up. Then I realized the humming was coming from hail on my neighbors roof! I darted inside.
From inside I heard what sounded like a single baseball hit the roof. The real hail had started. In a panic I decided to foolishly drive our new truck under a tree to minimize hail damage. I sprinted out and drove a crash course diagonally, taking refuge under the willow. Then I was stuck inside the truck. Damn!
I was in that truck for 9 minutes. The hail still hadn't stopped but I couldn't be there anymore, trapped. All told the hail lasted almost 20 minutes. The storm stayed right above unleashing on our little home.
After it stopped, I went to explore the damage. The driveway had standing water with an ice crust. There was a creek running down the cliffside and forming a small river on the road, washing it out in places. Our yard and the hillsides were white as though after a fresh snow.
The scent! I can't describe the scent. A combination of ozone, fish, and pine. It was so powerful that at times I was coughing.
And then the mist came, creeping up over the land, the low light reflecting the sunset so that everything glowed orange. The fog combined with the smell created a sensation so intense I could now see the inspiration for all of the horror stories ever told. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, War of the Worlds, Night of the Living Dead.
People in town posted photos on FB showing a massive storm cell located directly over our house, as though the heavens had opened over a specific spot. Hard not to take it personally! In winter I complain about living at the top of a hill because of the tough driving conditions. But after this storm I was thanking my lucky stars I was at the top as people downstream posted photos of flooding and severe road damage.
The next day, Sunday, was sunny and warm. There was hail on the ground until 2pm. Inspecting the damage, the potatoes, beans, and our newly planted orchard would survive. Everything else was toast. Rhubarb, flower beds, tomatoes, amaranth.
Lessons learned: It's time to buy a carport. Also, our garden is too spread out. Even if I had covers for all the plants, I would not have been able to cover them in time to prevent damage. In 2018 I plan on consolidating our veggie garden. This should make it easier to water and protect.