Freak Hail

From the BFP

Published on Friday 26 July 2002 16:53

SANTON Downham residents were running for cover last Saturday as marble-sized hailstones struck the village.

The bizarre storm hit at 5.45pm and lasted for 15 minutes, with temperatures dropping to a chilly 4.6 C.

Lisa Russell, of The Old Billiard Room, said she was upstairs with her boyfriend Tim Kaye, when they heard a hammering noise.

Miss Russell said that she rushed downstairs to see what was causing all the commotion.

After sheltering under her porch until the storm calmed down, she went out to investigate and was shocked to discover the size of the hailstones that had fallen.

After taking photographs, as seen pictured right, of the amazing weather conditions, she scooped up a handful of the stones.

She said that she should have caught a few of the stones rather than taking them off the dirty ground, as she could have put them in a glass of gin and tonic!

"It was the worst hail storm I have ever seen, the hailstones were the size of marbles. Some were still lying on the ground hours later.

"I don't know how localised it was, but it was certainly the talk of this village," she said.

The average size of the hailstones was 12-15mm, with some of the bigger ones in the 20-25mm range.

Mr Kaye said that, on the morning after the storm, it looked as though somebody had been cutting leaves from the trees, as the hailstones had shredded them, covering the roads in debris.

Apart from the flowers and plants in Miss Russell's garden being battered, no serious damage was caused to her home.

Terry and Margaret Killick, of Marks Lane, were not so lucky as their house received some damage.

Mr Killick said that the hail stones had put holes in sheets of corrugated PVC on his house.

"I think if you had stood outside it would have taken your hair off.

"I thought it was going to strip the paint off the car," he said.

This is not the first time Santon Downham has experienced adverse weather conditions.

The village is recorded as equalling the highest March temperature in Britain, since records began, of 25C in 1968, and of having the lowest recorded temperatures of 5.6C in September 1962.

But, if the residents thought that their hail stones were big, they were nothing compared to a storm in China on the same weekend, where hailstones the size of eggs killed 23 people.

Mr Kaye contacted the Met Office who said that they would pass on the couple's bizarre weather report to the Adverse Weather Team, which will be investigating the strange incident.

Miss Russell added: "There is probably a scientific explanation linked to the lie of the land, but we like to think it's just another way in which Santon Downham is special."

She said: "Hail storms are quite common at this time of the year."