Tag Archives: hail

For the Hail of It!

Since I was a kid growing up in Martin County, I have been excited to hear stories about  hail. Hail is really the closest thing to snow down in these parts. I remember once, in the 1970s, when our family lived at 109 Edgewood Drive, in Stuart, it hailed and we kids ran outside and collected it in our sweaty palms dumping it into Tupperware that ended up in the freezer. Those hail pieces sat in there for years, and every now and then we would climb on a squeaky high chair, when mom wasn’t looking, and take the cold frozen memory out,  just to revel. Amazing! As a kid, I never knew what else to do with the hail, and in time, I’m sure my mother removed it to make room for ice cream.  

Yes hail.

As I got older and my mother’s local history books were being published. I was struck by one photograph of the 1934 Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart overflowing with hail -looking like, yes,- like a snowstorm had come!

In this photo by Frances Carlberg King in “Stuart on the St. Lucie: A Pictorial History” by Sandra Henderson Thurlow, hail covers the old Roosevelt Bridge on Feb. 10, 1934. A hailstorm covered Stuart with ice, creating street scenes that some say looked like “someplace up North.”

Hail, though it can be destructive is a novelty, one to be appreciated, even celebrated. 

Just last Sunday, April 19, 2020, month two coronavirus containment, it stormed wildly and hailed in south Sewall’s Point. The noise on our metal roof was deafening! Right after,  I ran out and collected the hail pieces just like I had when I was a kid. The air was so chilly! My bare feet were cold against the deck and wet earth. Somehow, the whole thing was exhilarating! 

When I brought my hail inside, I quickly put the bowl in the freezer and looked for my husband, Ed.

“Ed! Come look! I collected some hail!”

There was silence for a bit, and then I heard him slowly ask, “what are you going to do with it Jacqui ?” Ed grew up in Chicago so ice is not so unusual. 

“I have a surprise!”

That evening after dinner, I said, “I recommend we do something special with this hail. I think we should  make real cocktails with it, you know, like the kinds from the 1950s? And  then, we are going to toast Mother Nature.”  

Ed laughed and we did just that, “for the hail of it!”

The Wrath of Mother Nature. The Hailstorms of 2015 and 1934, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Photo of Roosevelt Bridge, 1934 hailstorm, by Francis Carlberg King. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Thurlow's book, Stuart on the St Lucie.
Photo of Roosevelt Bridge, 1934, after a  hailstorm. Photo by Francis Carlberg King. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Thurlow’s book, Stuart on the St Lucie.

Limb of tree. One of many that came down in the storm. (Photo JTL)
Limb of tree. One of many that came down in the storm. (Photo JTL)

I love the power of Mother Nature. I appreciate when she reminds me of “who is in control.”

Yesterday, around 6:20 PM as the sky filled with dark clouds, and the rain started to fall, I was driving east on Monterey Road.  Every now and then I’d hear a loud “whack.”  I kept wondering why rocks were hitting my windshield. “This is odd,” I thought, “A construction truck must have gone by….”

The rain pelted down, and the skies darkened. Then suddenly, those “rocks” started pouring out of the sky, pinging loudly off the hood of my car in every direction. Finally, it dawned on me: “Hail!”

Photo of hail by Caroline Lawless, 4-18-15, in front of Team Fit in Cedar Point Plaza, Stuart.
Photo of hail by Caroline Lawless, 4-27-15, in front of Team Fit in Cedar Point Plaza, Stuart.

Photo of Storm by Caroline Lawless, Cedar Point Plaza.
Photo of Storm by Caroline Lawless, Cedar Point Plaza.

Unable to see, and overcome by sound, I pulled my car over into a parking lot sheltered by tall trees. Adrenaline pumping,  I sat there, frozen in my car, like a hiding animal waiting for the storm to pass….

With the rhythmic sound of the windshield wipers and the raging storm, I thought about stories of the old timers….

In my mother’s book “Stuart on the St Lucie,” she writes about the great hail storm of 1934 along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

“Mother Nature initiated the new Roosevelt Bridge with an unusual occurrence that is still remembered by all who experience it. On February 10th, 1934 a hailstorm covered Stuart with ice, creating street scenes that looked like “someplace up North.”

So even though yesterday was intense, as far as hail is concerned, there was probably more in 1934. Mind you it was February….With my yard a mess, huge limbs down, no power, and wondering if my car is dented….I remain grateful for Mother Nature and her moods. Sometimes I feel that way too.

Photo of Roosevelt Bridge, 1934 hailstorm, by Francis Carlberg King. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Thurlow's book, Stuart on the St Lucie.
Photo of Roosevelt Bridge, Stuart, Florida, 1934 hailstorm–by Francis Carlberg King. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Thurlow’s book, Stuart on the St Lucie.

Photo of hail by Becky Engebretsen taken at Stuart Convalescent  Center, Stuart.
Photo of hail by Becky Engebretsen taken at Stuart Convalescent Center, Stuart.4-27-15.

Hail photo by Becky Engebretsen from Stuart Convalescent Center, Stuart.
Hail photo by Becky Engebretsen from Stuart Convalescent Center, Stuart. 4-27-15.

*Thank you to Becky Engebretsen for sharing her photos taken at the Stuart Convalescent Center in Stuart, 1500 Palm Beach Road, and Caroline Lawless, co-owner of  TEAM FIT in Cedar Point Plaza,  just west over the bridge from Sewall’s Point.

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To learn about hail: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail)