Lyon County Public Works crews were busy Thursday afternoon with snow plows to remove several inches of hail that accumulated on the roads. These pictures were taken by a plow crew off of Linehan Road in Mound House. Hail accumulation was also reported at Dayton Valley Ranches east of Dayton.
Some people have reported via social media, minor damage. One resident, Laura Tennant said the hail “tore thousands of leaves off the trees.”
Lyon County Manager Jeff Page noted that he’s not seen anything like this kind of hail accumulation in his 30 years in the county.
Western Nevada is known for some unusual happenings but Mother Nature provided them with a big one Thursday. Thunderstorms developed near Carson City Thursday, producing hail that accumulated quickly on the roadways.
Unlike severe thunderstorms that develop when temperatures are high and cloud tops reach 50 to 60 thousand feet, this was a colder environment (the surface temperature was around 50 degrees) and cloud tops were much lower.
Because of this hailstones that develop are small and don’t usually cause much damage. In this case it was the quantity of hail that created problems.
Hail accumulated quickly and measured at least three inches in some areas. Snowplows were summoned in Lyon County to clear some of the roadways.
Setup For Hail
A cold upper trough of low pressure aloft nudged toward the California Coast on Thursday. This situation is a bit unusual for this time of year as ample moisture accompanied the trough.
At the leading edge of the trough, a strong jet stream came screaming northward into Nevada.
The atmosphere was unstable with cold air aloft and the presence of the jet stream provided additional “lift” in the atmosphere, increasing instability and favoring cumulus clouds to further develop into thunderstorms, as opposed to just “fair-weather cumulus”.
As moisture rode into the area, these atmospheric features allowed the moisture laden air to rise quickly above the freezing level and hail formed. Because of the extreme situation the hail formed quickly and it literally came down in buckets over a short period of time.
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Massive hailstorm requires plows to clear roadways
VOLENS, Va. (WSET) — The rain that poured Thursday morning brought a significant amount of hail to Halifax County.
VDOT says three inches of it accumulated on the roads, requiring plows to clear Route 501 of hail in the Nathalie area.
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About a quarter-inch of rain fell on Thursday along with waves of pea- to nickel-sized hail, according to meteorologist Zach Tolby of the National Weather Service in Reno. Several people also reported cold air funnel clouds, according to meteorologist Edan Weishahn.
In Fernley, wind gusts exceeded 60 mph in the during the afternoon, causing the Weather Service to issue an hour-long severe thunderstorm warning.
“All the reports have been that the (Truckee River) will come up, but not that much,” said John Martini, community services director at the city of Sparks.
Drivers need to take care during periods of heavy rain and hail, either of which could cause slick roads. The highest Sierra elevations will get some snow as well.
Despite lightning throughout the weekend, the fire danger is low…
“We’re getting moisture with (the storm) and we’ve been getting moisture for a while. When we get a really wet spring it does delay the fire season, but it does have the potential to dry out in the future,” Hupp said.
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