Virginians, Carolinians Asking 'What the Hail?'

By By Bill Deger, Meteorologist
March 28, 2012, 5:50:36 AM EDT

Despite temperatures in the 60s and 70s, it looked like the middle of winter in parts of the Southeast on Saturday.

No, it wasn't snow--but hail that covered the ground up to 6 inches deep in some communities on Saturday from southwestern Virginia into South Carolina.

Responsible for the chaos were severe thunderstorms in association with a large storm system packed with plenty of cold air in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

That cold air helped to generate hail, and plenty of it, in most of the thunderstorms that formed during the afternoon and evening hours.

The Storm Prediction Center compiled 80 reports of hail from Saturday ranging from 1 inch (quarter size) to 2.75 inches in diameter (baseball size).

Thunderstorms produced hail across a half dozen states, from West Virginia to Georgia.

The most prolific hailmakers struck around dinnertime from Lynchburg, Va., to the Triad region of North Carolina.

A few of the responsible storms were even spinning according to radar, but fortunately there were no reports of tornadoes. However, the hail alone did a lot of damage.


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Windshields were busted out by golf ball-sized hail near Mount Herman, N.C. Near Salemburg, N.C., quarter-sized hail fell fast and furious for about seven minutes, pelting and denting everything in sight.

Since many of the thunderstorms were slow moving, the hailstones piled up fast, several inches deep in some areas. As they melted, runoff quickly flooded drainage areas and roadways.

While the accumulated hail is now long gone, the photos and videos posted to social media will continue to impress for a long time to come.

Here is a look at some of the photos and videos from Saturday's storms:


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Large hail fell for several minutes at a house in Evington, Va. (YouTube user ukenlele)

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