Oh man, did we ever have an amazing and photogenic storm roll through here this evening! It wasn't anything by midwest-tornado-storm standards, but it was quite unusual for us. I wanted to take photos - I even wanted to take a video at one point - but our camera is currently on the blink, so you'll have to settle for a verbal description, instead.
First we heard thunder. We expect to have a thunderstorm most every day this time of year, so that wasn't very interesting, but the sound does warn us to head outside to pull the laundry in off the line, bring the puppies into the house, and generally batten the hatches.
Because we were outside, we saw the dark clouds headed our way. They were especially dark, and they seemed to be a bit more agitated than usual. Several times we saw what looked to be the beginnings of funnels trying to form, but these never amounted to very much. We weren't experiencing any wind at ground level, although the storm was approaching pretty fast, so this wasn't an especially scary experience. We were all outside looking at it.
Then the clouds were above us. There were different types of clouds at different elevations, moving at different speeds and in different directions. That was pretty spooky. Looking up, we could see multiple swirls - definite circular motion - forming in the large mass of dark gray cloud straight above us. At a lower elevation, wispier clouds were passing along in more of a straight line. This was weird and kind of scary. Some of the clouds had an odd greenish tinge, which I didn't much like the look of.
That whole mess passed by with no preciptation, and still with little wind or temperature change at ground level. Then we could see, in the direction from which the clouds had come, the wall of rain headed our way. It was a particularly thick rain, completely obscuring everything on the other side of the storm. The rain was across the valley from us, and as it approached we did feel the rush of cold air which almost always hits right before the rain.
Instead of rain, however, we got hail! The pieces of ice had about the diameter of a dime, and most weren't round, they were slightly flattened out. I had a moment of concern for our solar panels, but the hail remained small enough that we don't think the panels sustained any damage. Gradually rain joined the hail, and then fewer and fewer hail stones fell until we were simply having our regular tropical deluge, but with significant lightning.
This lasted for about fifteen minutes, and then the storm was past us, with no particular damage. A few of my green bean plants are lying on the ground, but I think they're just waterlogged and only a bit pounded - I'm hopeful that they will pull back upright without a problem.
So, you can see why I wish I'd had a working camera! We do have a backup camera, but Russell has it at his house at the moment. We do kind of need to have two cameras, since we so often have people in several locations at the same time, and because we always want to have a backup on hand (since it sometimes takes us months to get a new camera down here). Now I need to do some camera shopping, so my oldest daughter can bring me the new camera when she visits in July.