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Storm dumps hail deep enough to plow in Augusta County

Photo of hail along a road in Craigsville at 10 p.m. on April 7 | Submitted to WHSV by Dezy Morris
Photo of hail along a road in Craigsville at 10 p.m. on April 7 | Submitted to WHSV by Dezy Morris(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 1:28 PM EDT
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Parts of Augusta County saw two waves of severe storms from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, causing power outages, leaving trees across roadways and on power lines, and dumping a large amount of hail deep enough to push with a plow.

The largest amount of hail came from a single storm on Tuesday night.

It started in West Virginia and dropped south into Virginia, crossing the mountains into Highland, Bath, Rockbridge, and Augusta counties before eventually fading away as it moved into Central Virginia.

Another round of severe storms around 6 a.m. Wednesday morning that brought 60+ mph. winds, lightning, and more hail followed a similar path. That storm was more destructive than the Tuesday night one and brought hail to Buffalo Gap and Staunton, but the amounts were not as high as the hail from the Tuesday night storm.

The storm Tuesday night released a cloud full of hail that was well over 1" deep in spots, including in the Craigsville and Raphine areas. WHSV has received many photos and videos of hail from viewers, which you can see in the gallery at the bottom of this page.

Shortly after the storm, partially due to the hail on the road,

left one person dead and five people injured, according to Virginia State Police.

How does this happen?

Tuesday's storms didn't grow very tall, but the freezing level in the clouds can be much lower in the spring. If you looked at a weather balloon reading, you'd find freezing temperatures as low as 20,000 feet Tuesday.

As hail forms, it remains inside the cloud thanks to winds, called updrafts, that blow into the storm, keeping the hail bouncing around inside the cloud. When the hail gets large enough that the updraft can no longer keep it inside in the cloud, the hailstones drop to the ground.

Most of the time, this spreads out over a larger area. However, on rare occasions, the hail will get released at once, piling up over a localized area.

This is what likely happened during Tuesday night's severe storm. This is a good reminder to have your WHSV Weather App downloaded and alerts turned on. Storms can happen any time of day, day or night, and during any season.

You can submit your photos and videos to WHSV through the gallery below:

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