Jesse Ferrell

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Hellacious Hail Hits Henry's House

May 15, 2010; 9:34 AM ET

UPDATE: More videos and radar shots are now available including a timelapse and an interview with Henry.

UPDATE: I'm working on a Google Map detailing the damage but it's not done yet and I don't have the photos integrated into it yet. The local paper has a story with photos from Henry's son Kyle. While going through my video of the storm today I came across the closest lightning strike I've ever captured on film! I estimate it to be about 2,000 feet away; I'll investigate on Sunday to see if I can find the tree that it hit.

I also spent a few hours this morning looking more in-depth at the hail damage in Henry's neighborhood. Here is a look at Henry's air conditioning unit. Note how the damage is only on the side where the wind and hail was. He may have to replace this because of the effect the dents will have on air movement through the unit. Other units in the neighborhood had similar damage.

At first we thought that Henry's car was only plastered with leaves and it was too dark last night to see what we could today -- tiny dents all over the hood, trunk and roof. I uploaded a closeup of one of the dents. Another car across the street showed similar damage. The hail also put a lot of small dents in the gutter on another home in the neighborhood and damaged woodwork around the front door of a house across the street.

This house showed very large holes in the vinyl siding...

And also had half of a shutter ripped off, presumably by high winds. The holes weren't as big but this was one of the worst damaged homes with dozens of dents. The home was completely exposed to the west where the storm was coming from, with no neighboring homes or trees in the way.

The thing that sucks about vinyl siding is that it fades over time; these homes were built around 2000 (?) and if homeowners attempt to replace one damaged strip, it will be a different color so they will have to replace the entire wall. And they need to do something quickly before rain comes Monday.

ORIGINAL REPORT: We had one of the worst severe thunderstorms in my memory Friday night here in State College, Pennsylvania, home of AccuWeather HQ [Google Map], specifically down the road at MeteoMadness Man Henry Margusity's house near Pine Grove Mills. He has an awesome video and radar shot on his blog; below are some photos that I took.

The picture above and below (bottom right) show a possible funnel cloud that both Henry and I sighted.

However I can't be sure that's what it was because I can't confirm rotation, even in the video, which you can see below. Certainly it looked like a funnel cloud and showed solid structure compared to the scud rising around it.

Below are pictures of 1.25-inch diameter hail that I literally took in Henry's yard. Now, these were taken 15-20 minutes after the storm so some melting occurred; the largest stones were probably near golfball-sized (1.75") when they fell.

Henry's vinyl siding was damaged by the hail, as was his neighbors:

And finally one more scary picture of the storm -- this was on the left side opposite the funnel cloud.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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About This Blog

Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.