Hailstorm in the Park

Thinking there was a break between storms, I headed to the park to try to get a clean picture of the solar calendar.  My previous shots were in summer and the base of the calendar, with its intricate lines and patterns, carried a lot of dirt and debris.  I figured the heavy rains of the past couple of days would have washed it clean.  I was right about that, but before I got there I ran into a Parks crew cleaning up after a big downed tree, and then into the most exciting weather I’ve seen in the park, ever.  Actually I missed some of it.  I was still walking from my car to the shore, with my camera in my pocket, when I saw a bolt of lightning strike the water and heard a thunder clap.  Hoping to catch the next one on video, I set up my tripod at the water’s edge, pointed northwest into the thick of the dark clouds, with an umbrella over my head, and waited.  No luck.  Then, without warning, the exciting weather came from behind me.  The umbrella started rattling.  Hailstones the size of peas came pelting down, some bouncing, some sticking.  In just a few minutes, the dark grey asphalt path turned almost white.  The ground next to it, not so much of a heat sink as the asphalt, held the cold grains longer and looked like it was covered with granular snow.  A cluster of American Coots in the water clung tightly together and swam south.  The water around them threw up little fountains with every grain of hail that hit.  Yet across the water, San Francisco sat in sunshine.  A small blue hole in the sky offset the sinister dark mass that was visibly drenching the area north of us.  Then, less than half an hour later, it was over.  The clouds moved east.  The blue hole grew big and took over the sky.  A Sandpiper sat on a rock in the sunshine and took in the washed and scrubbed new world.  

A downpour is coming at me across the water
She is the only other person I saw walking about in this hailstorm. She stopped often to take pictures. Smart!
Hailstones next to ice plant that closed its blossoms for the duration
Hailstones on grass
The hail-bringing dark cloud moves on toward the city

 

 

 

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