Occasional Daily Weather Report: Hailstorm damage

There’s really nothing else I can think of that could cause this mysterious pitting:


Last week a very local weather system kicked up, causing a tremendous downpour and hail. The rainfall was that rare, torrential, deafening kind that always makes me laugh in amazement. The thunder and lightning soon put a stop to the frivolity, and all of us, cats and dog in the lead, skidded and sloshed in frantic search for shelter. I thought I sensed maybe some hail mixed in as I ran for cover but wasn’t sure, until my neighbor Holly told us she made a little snowman from the hail she found on her back deck. Since then, I’ve been finding this kind of damage everywhere in the garden. On echeverias, aeoniums, and some of the softer-leaved agaves, like the attenuatas and desmettianas.

Agave ‘Kara’s Stripes’ and Agave celsii ‘Multicolor’


What’s even more surprising to me than this hail damage, if that’s what it is (and what else could it be?) is the fact that this has never happened before. From Wikipedia: “Hail formation requires environments of strong, upward motion of air with the parent thunderstorm (similar to tornadoes) and lowered heights of the freezing level. Hail is most frequently formed in the interior of continents within the mid-latitudes of Earth, with hail generally confined to higher elevations within the tropics.”

This video taken at a local high school, and which — WARNING — contains very “strong” language, offers an inside look at Southern Californians’ response to a hailstorm.

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9 Responses to Occasional Daily Weather Report: Hailstorm damage

  1. Holy s**t those kids can swear! One can only hope their descriptive vocabulary diversifies as they mature…

    Sorry about the strange damage. Perhaps it happened because the frozen bits lay on the leaves long enough to freeze-burn them?

  2. Wow their parents must be so proud. At least they can stop saving for their college education as they now know it would be wasted on these guys.

    But about your plants…yep, that would be hail damage. We got a really bad storm a couple of years ago right after I brought all the succulents out from undercover and a lot of mine looked just like this. That same storm also ripped the leaves on my big-leaf Magnolia all to shreds. Hail sucks! (that’s my attempt to be a cool kid).

  3. Scott says:

    Hail is definitely one of the worst things a garden will have to deal with…it’s strange how it made all those small pits…they must have been tiny little hail bullets 🙁

  4. That almost looks more like bug damage, unless the hail was tiny. Hail usually seems more to shred or break fragile stems.

  5. reuben says:

    Weirdness, but then the weather has been so bizarre lately … Denise, I hope you and yours have a very happy holiday! Hope to you see you soon, Reuben

  6. James Golden says:

    Freaky hail. I remember a freak hail storm four days before the garden tour in our Brooklyn neighborhood several years ago. The streets were invisible beneath several inches of ice (in spring). Easy to imagine how our ancient ancestors ascribed these rare events to miraculous powers. You can hear that wonder in the inarticulate voices of the teenagers

  7. Denise says:

    Jane, you crack me up! You may be right about the tiny, frozen bits causing the burning pattern.
    Loree & Scott, thanks for the corroboration. Rachelle, that’s what I was thinking too, which is why it took so long to attribute the damage back to that storm. Thanks to all for the interesting comments! So glad no offense was taken. The background, M*A*S*H*-like announcement that detention will not be postponed was pretty funny too. Reuben, I agree completely about the bizarro weather. James, your broad-minded view of the video makes me think you must have been a teacher at some point…

  8. Grace says:

    Dude, dude… I had to laugh. Kids are so funny. The number of umbrellas I saw reminded me of home. 🙂 We get little ball bearing-sized hail every May without fail. Sometimes I even swear like a teenager while observing it wreaking havoc on my emerging hosta leaves. I keep thinking I should invest in some dollar store umbrellas to use for just such occurrences but I never do. Hopefully your damaged agaves will heal quickly. Ditto for the kids’ vernacular. 🙂 I hope you had the merriest of Christmases.

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