This is the third day out of four that I ended up storm chasing. Today’s chase was even more spontaneous than Thursday’s, as I’d been at an event for most of the afternoon and visibility was terrible today.
But then, in spite of the murk, I saw the cool structure on this severe storm and couldn’t resist. Besides, the hail core looked decent, especially for Florida’s Space Coast, so I headed north from Rockledge to see if I could intercept it. Or, more accurately, to let it chase me. It followed me as I headed north.
I was behind the eight ball from the start of this very short chase, mostly thanks to the prodigious traffic lights of Cocoa. That said, when I saw a perfect hail shelter – a carport at a closed business – I couldn’t resist parking in this strategic spot and waiting to be cored. That’s what chasers call letting yourself be run over by a storm’s hail core.
The experience of being under a metal carport in a hailstorm is satisfyingly loud. These weren’t giant stones, but for Florida? They were pretty good. I measured multiple 1.5-inch stones. They melted quickly. And they shredded leaves on the trees.
I didn’t get a chance to get a radar snapshot in the middle of the barrage, but an even bigger core passed to my southeast. I’m wondering how big those hailstones were.
You can check out my chase on the video, and here are a few photos. Roll over any one to see a caption, or click on one to start a slide show.