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Quicksilver1989

What are the worst thunderstorms you have experienced in the UK?

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29 minutes ago, Cakie said:

For me it has to be the Ottery St Mary storm. 

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/learn-about-the-weather/weather-phenomena/case-studies/ottery-hail

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1081758/Hailstorm-swamps-small-town-6ft-drifts--October.html

I lived nearby about 15 miles away. We spent the night with constant lightening so bright we didn't need to put the light on to calm my daughter 

The following morning I set off for work (at the Met Office) and was listening to the local BBC news interviewing a farmer in Ottery St Mary saying he had 'snow' in his farmyard feet deep. I was confused as I was now about 3 miles away and no sign and this was October and not that cold. Went to go over the river and a guy was stopping everyone saying the bridge was flooded. Long alternative trip to work. When I got there I was gobsmacked at the data (see above) 

I do remember the day before there was a huge wall cloud straight outside the Met Office and Mammatus cloud on the way home but this caught everyone by surprise 

 

 

 

I remember hearing about this event, very unusual and rare. It happened on the same day I saw snow in Northampton I think!

Edited by Quicksilver1989

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May in history

1141 The earliest known severe hailstorm in Britain affected Wellesbourne this month.

1697 Quite a month. On the 10th, an exceptionally destructive hailstorm travelled across Wales and NW England. The storm resulted in several severe injuries. Then on the 15th was probably the most severe hailstorm ever recorded in Britain (technically known as a "H8 storm"), with a fatality in Offley (Herts.).

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June in history

1561 The original spire to St Paul's (nearly 500' high) collapses after being struck by lightning on the 4th.

1626 During a great electrical storm on the 12th a strange mist was observed above the Thames.

1652 On the 20th, 11 people were killed by lightning in Cheshire - perhaps by ball lightning

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1808 There was a memorable heatwave in the middle of the month, particularly affecting the east of the countrry. The spell included "Hot Wednesday": 13 July might have been hotter than any day of the twentieth century. Estimates suggest that it reached 100F, and might well have reached 40C (105F) in places in southern England. There were many heat-related deaths. It was an extraordinary heatwave, concluding with intense thunderstorms on St. Swithins Day. A fireball was noted travelling through Gloucester Cathedral, and destroyed one of the pinnacles at the West End. The 15th saw what was probably the most severe hailstorm to affect the southwest; a 95 km swath was damaged between Bath and Bristol, with 70 mm hailstones, touching perhaps 100 mm in places, causing great damage. Indeed, some in Somerset were reported to be over a foot long (at 333 mm). It was a hot month overall: at 18.4C CET, there would not be a better one until 1921.

1816 "The year without a summer" - only 13.4C.

1818 There was an exceptionally severe hailstorm in the Orkneys - an extraordinary location for an event that saw "goose egg" sized hailstones injuring cattle. Snow was recorded on Cumbrian Fells.

1825 The driest on record - 8.2 mm.

1826 Part of a very hot summer, probably nearly as good as 1976.1828 The wettest on record - 183 mm(231%).

1841 On the 17th there was a heavy hailstorm at Derby, notable for including a fall of fish and frogs (some of them alive

 

These are listings for July

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50 minutes ago, janmac said:

Early June 1980...I can't remember the specific date as I was only 5 at the time!  But I sure remember the storm!  I was in reception class at school back then.  I remember playing out at lunchtime, and the heat being so oppressive that I remember having to sit down on the floor in the playground and roll my sleeves up.  It was so warm, despite being really grey and gloomy.  Later, as we were getting on with our afternoon learning (probably plasticine or painting!!) the sky became incredibly dark.  In fact it was like night time.  And then a deep rumble.  My teacher (A lovely, tall, grey haired lady named Miss Dean) declared "Ooh!  Did you hear the thunder?" I quite simply burst into tears!  I was so scared!  I have no idea why!  Luckily, Miss Dean let me stand at her desk and work beside her.  The lights were constantly going off, then coming back on.  The rain was crazy!  And then it was playtime...No!  My teacher had to do her playground duty (which on this day consisted of walking around the classrooms checking on the children).  She took me with her as I was petrified of being left without her.  I even went to the toilet and sat there with the door open so that I could see my teacher, such was the abject fear and terror!  My mother came to collect me and my friend from school, bringing wellies and umbrellas.  We waited until the rain eased off a little.  My baby sister was at home being watched by an elderly neighbour as my mother didn't want to be pushing her around in that sort of weather.  We finally got home, only a ten minute walk.  I'll never forget being greeted by the sight of my elderly neighbour, sitting in the armchair, wearing her wellies and holding an umbrella above her head - indoors!  Somehow the copious amounts of rain had got into the cavity wall and had cascaded into our back room.  Our carpet and TV were ruined!  We spent the next few months living in the other room whilst we waited for the carpet to be taken away, cleaned and returned.  This was the most terrifying experience of my childhood, and left me totally frightened of thunder for a long, long time!  During this storm, a boy at the local high school, and some of his friends, were hit by lightning.  Sadly he didn't survive.

Other storms will never compare to that childhood memory of fear...although a storm in June 2006 whilst on holiday in Exmouth came close, even as an adult!  My eldest slept through it, my baby girl of 3 months old slept through it.  My hubby awoke and then went back to sleep.  I lay there in fear listening to the almost constant thunder, and watching the flickering lightning...wondering if it would spawn a tornado that would race through the caravan park!  The next morning, the cafe on the campsite had been completely wrecked by the surface water floods that had occurred during the storm.

July 1st 2015 also sticks in the mind - beautiful lightning - and then the rain!  At the time we were having our loft extension built and were actually roofless!!  How the plastic sheeting stayed watertight that night I'll never know!

There seemed to be many storms in the early 80s...or perhaps I remember them because I was so scared?

I think the 1980 storm your referring to was the June 5th storms, which were severe. My family told me about those storms, while we were on a canal boat holiday up in Broxbourne/Bishop Stortford. I was only 4 that summer, and barely remember the trip myself, but recall the period being warm to hot, even though much of that summer was poor.

I do remember the August 81 storm, when the sky turned completely dark over the London area, and I would have guessed that was the storm you were talking about, but the schools were already on summer break by that stage. 

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And No Doubt About it by Hot Chocolate was a number 2 hit in the uk charts in June 1980. That song tends to remind me of the thunderstorms of the early 1980s for some reason. It has that spooky vibe. 

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Probably early September 1995 in Liverpool. I normally sleep through thunderstorms but this was haunted house-level stuff. There was flash flooding the following morning.

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Some of you that have read my posts before, will know that I have suffered quite severely from Brontophobia, from a young age and I'm now, sixty-two.

 

Two storms that stand out in my mind, are as follows:

Firstly, a tremendous thunderstorm occurred, in the first ten days or so of June 1966.

I can remember having a P.E. Lesson during the late morning, before the t/storm, during the overnight period. During the P.E. Lesson, there was a brief, light shower of very warm rain and the humidity, was intense. Can vividly recall playing football in the local park that evening and gazing at some very strange cloud formations. Can remember thinking that they looked like giant bears, in the sky.

The monumental storm broke over my home, in Bromley, Kent, at the time, around midnight and continued until around 6 am, without a word of a lie. The lightning was very scary and thunder deafening.

My mother was in hospital, giving birth to my younger sister and had been quite ill. I was in the care of my father, who was half-German and was a strict disciplinarian and had no sympathy, for his ten year old son, who was scared out of his wits!!. He wouldn't close the windows or curtains, or put the bedroom light on. I would loved to have seen the radar returns, from that night. Having learnt more about the nature of storms, feel sure we were visited by an M.C.S, that night, over S.E.London/ N.W.Kent Indeed the local newspaper, the Bromley and Kentish Times of the following week, ran with the headline that two t/storms had merged over the Bromley area.

For years I had blamed my father, for my Brontophobia but more recently, have more recently come round to thinking that my Italian mother, had implanted the fear in me. Mum, on seeing a flash of lightning, would make the sign of the cross and invoke, Santa Barbara. Unwittingly, Mum had implanted that fear in me. As some of you are no doubt aware, Italians are a very superstitious, nationality. Santa Barbara is the Patron Saint of lightning, thunder and storms in general, in Italy. When I saw my mother take this course of action, when she saw a flash of lightning, subsequently I thought lightning and thunder was a very bad thing and something to be feared of,hence my Phobia was born. 

 

6th AUGUST 1981

 

Another notable thundery event I experienced, occurred on the morning/midday of the 6th August 1981.

Myself and my wife were house-sitting for a husband/wife couple, in North London. The husband was a groundsman at Alleyns school, in North Dulwich.

I can remember making the half hour walk to work, at Lordship Lane East Dulwich, around 9 that morning, with peals of thunder and very threatening, orangey-looking skies, chasing me on my way. When I arrived at work, all hell broke loose!!

I normally had to unlock the metal gates, at the back of the Office but a kind colleague, knowing of my Phobia, thankfully unlocked them for me. The lightning, thunder and incredible rainfall, were pretty scary!!

The t/storm then moved away but the thunder was finished with us yet!!

Just before midday, the sky grew very dark but nothing happened for a while. It made for a very eerie, atmosphere. Then as if a switch had been thrown, all hell broke loose, again!! Very intense lightning, shotgun thunder and "biblical-type", rainfall. This was the famous, "day to night" event, in the London area. Ian Currie's Surrey County Weather Book, has a superb photo, taken at Purley, just south of Croydon, depicting just how dark it became, during this thundery event. My wife phoned me at work to report that the sports ground, we were "keeping an eye on", was fully under water, especially the cricket square!! 

Those Brontophiles amongst you, who are to young to have experienced these exceptional thundery events, would have been in "seventh heaven", believe me.

As some of you know, I experienced a Brain Haemorrhage in September 2015 and after my "close shave" with death, thankfully my Brontophobia, has eased somewhat, helping me to put lightning/thunder, into more perspective now!! Gone are the days of putting pillows over my head, cotton wool in my ears and shutting myself in a window less room and having tv and radio, fully turned up to mask the sound of thunder and intense rainfall!! Still can't stay in the top level of the house, bedroom, etc, as was the case, a few Saturdays ago. I still have the need to put all the lights on in the house and I'm still not brave enough, to venture out in thunder, yet.

 

Regards,

 

Tom.  :hi:

 

Edited by TomSE12

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On 04/06/2018 at 06:45, Weather-history said:

2nd July 2006 

Sunday afternoon, hot and oppressive, a lot of cumulus in the sky and it felt like it was going to go bang and it did. Storm erupted overhead and the rain was phenomenal, pea sized hail. bright c-g lightning, drains were close to overflowing. Yet three hours later at about 8pm, you would have never guessed we had a storm, it was clear with a setting sun. 

I may have been a day out with the Leeds thunderstorm then - I wasn't entirely sure if it was 2 or 3 July.  In Leeds it was a sunny and fairly hazy day and then the line of cumulonimbus cells loomed out of the haze and became clearly visible once the sun went behind them at around 5-6pm.  After 8pm there was a good couple of hours of thunder and lightning.  I'm guessing that it was probably the same set of cells which probably went through Manchester at 5-8pm and Leeds at 8-11pm.

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10 minutes ago, Thundery wintry showers said:

I may have been a day out with the Leeds thunderstorm then - I wasn't entirely sure if it was 2 or 3 July.  In Leeds it was a sunny and fairly hazy day and then the line of cumulonimbus cells loomed out of the haze and became clearly visible once the sun went behind them at around 5-6pm.  After 8pm there was a good couple of hours of thunder and lightning.  I'm guessing that it was probably the same set of cells which probably went through Manchester at 5-8pm and Leeds at 8-11pm.

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Copied from a previous thread:

Around August 1997. This storm stayed overhead pretty much all night. No one could sleep so we all went into my parents bedroom ans watched the storm all night out the window. I don't think it went 10 seconds without the sky lighting up and the thunder made the whole house shake. I think we worked out there were 3 different storms going on. The rain was also extremely heavy too, so much so it washed all the scrap and a trailer down the road from the scout hut at the top. A house a few streets over got struck by lightening and burnt down, luckily the owners were on holiday at the time.

 

Another:

We were on a family holiday to Devon in the caravan. The day had started off a scorcher. You could feel the burn on your skin as soon as you stepped out the door and there was a strong heat haze everywhere. Later in the day it went very very humid so much so your face was constantly clammy. As we spent the last few hours on the beach we saw big Cu building up followed by some serious anvils.

As the BBQ was coming to an end we felt spots of that hot rain coming down and we went inside. About 5 minutes later we all jumped out of our skins as the brightest flash and the biggest bang shook the caravan. Then the heavens opened and it didn't stop raining until about 10am the next day. It got hotter and hotter and hotter until we were sitting inside the caravan with the windows wide open to let out the humidity. The flashes were every second and lots of fork lightening and ground strikes as well as it crawling across the sky. The lightning was all different colours and the thunder was just constantly rolling. The power ent out on the site so we all just sat in darkness drinking tea and wine and beer (not the kids obviously!) and watched it until bedtime. We all fell asleep to the storm which died out for a few hours with flashes and rumbles every now and then and it picked up again around sunrise.

 

And finally:

And now I can add the recent storms of last month to this list. Constant flashing and rumbling for many hours. Absolutely outstanding.

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worst, or best? lol

imho we havnt had many real good thunderstorms in the last 45 years.  ok, there are exceptions, but these have been largely localised affairs with single cell storms.

in the 60's and early 70's , i first recorded storms, as they followed a pattern.

they would come up from france, in a line. we would get a southeasterly, it would be rather cloudy/bright. the southwest would turn dark first, as these storms came at an angle, so west of where i was (breaston, between derby notts) would look like getting it first. then upwind of us would get dark, and it departed to our east last.

there was always an area of updraft, where black clouds billowed spectacularly before the base of the cloud - dark grey and misty arrived. and thats where the thunder and lightning was. afterwards, the sun came out! no 4 days of grey gloom that we seem to get now. the thunder and lightning was intense though, real violent cracks, forked lightning too, hail stones sometimes quite big.

these storms hit everyone, they came in lines, they always provided , and were totally unlike todays fart fest of a thunderstorm...in fact most of todays activities i wouldnt even honour it by calling it a 'storm'.

although i remember them back to 1966, the first one i recorded, rudimentarily was actually exactly 48 years ago today! although im not so sure it was up from france as it was before i recorded charts.

other very noteable storms that followed described habit

1/8/72 (or 31/7/72 - not sure, no longer have records)
24/6/73 extremely violent thunderstorm
15/9/73 classic as described after a very hot muggy bright day.

worth noting too that 9/7/81 south derby had a cloudburst, in a violent but local storm. we had 3" of rain in an hour, leaving flooding everywhere. but that was localised and from the west.
 

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One of the scariest experiences in my life,i will have a date for it somewhere but not at the moment.Somewhere in the early 1990s I was walking home from the farm I worked at across a large field at 380metres ,it was dark and just started raining.After only a short distance it was very heavy rain then with no warning a very loud bang and instantaneous daylight and back to total darkness,scared the life out of me.I knew by that the storm was right on top of me,i should have gone back to the farm but persisted.Maybe 30 seconds later it happened again,i hit the ground and by this time the rain was torrential.I stayed where I was   and moments later it happened again.I decided to run for it then hit the ground again before the next bang and flash.Strange things happen in your mind in times like this and I was convinced there was someone else in that field in those split seconds of light.I repeated this a couple more times until I came across a wall where I had a breather and somehow felt safe,the times between the lightening grew a little and I jumped over the wall and over the brow of the hill,hitting the ground in anticipation of a strike,once a little lower down the hill I ran the rest of the way home.This was only a couple of hundred yards away from where my Grandad was struck by lightening.

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I am no good at dates, but the one that strikes out in my mind the most is one that turned day into night, so dark the street lights went on. 

Growing up and by the sea we had some great all nighters and even funnel clouds over the downs.  I can remember my parents driving down to cornwall one summer and it just didn't stop lightning - and the sky once the sun come up was amazing, I had never seen so many tiny turrets in the sky to this day.   

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The day turning into night storm was early August 1981, over much of south, or south east England. 

Although, early June 1982 had a day of violent storms, during the day and into the night. It was during a hot and humid spell. 

Someone mentioned earlier in the thread, regarding storms from late May/early June 1999 and early July 1999. How could I forget those. It was a very warm to hot period, only let down by a poor June, and overall August was average I think, but May and July were warm and sunny. 

I also remember the ecilpse from August that year, as I flew out to Canada that day, and stopped off in Paris along the way during the eclipse. It was completely dark for several minutes. We were given special sunglasses to witness the event. 

As per usual some Pratt turned around and said ‘it’s not that special’ and a few of us looked at him and said ‘this is a once in a lifetime experience’. What a fool!

Sorry for the pointless rambling. 

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I remember travelling down the M1 to London In August 1990 one saturday evening witnessing a spectacular lightning displays across the hills in the distance. Never seen anything like it since.  

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I recall a pretty nasty storm around the Peterborough / Lincolnshire area perhaps a year or two ago. It rumbled on for a good couple of hours and provided some brilliant cloud structures.

Also, when I was very young (and still a storm nut), I captured a large funnel cloud towards Newborough in Peterborough. The pictures were fantastic but unfortunately I lost them when the family PC crashed :(

20160827_150947.jpg

20160827_165649.jpg

IMG_20160827_151607.jpg

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Most recent noteworthy storm was 17th July 2015, pretty much the first night storm to produce photography opportunities since owing a DLSR. The 4th July storms bypassed us bar the occasional flash. I was out for 4 hours that night, lucky enough to away from the torrential rain but close enough to get some great shots. I must admit I retreated into the van on several occasions as the majority were CGs. Couldn't fail to get pictures although they weren't brilliant as it was the first opportunity I'd ever had. 

Apart from that the best ones were all back in the 1980s/90s when barely a week went past without something spectacular; in 1992 we were visiting a friend in Harling when we heard a constant deep booming and assumed it was coming from the battle area, about 20 mins later (around 1.30pm) it was obviously not gunfire! We decided to go home as the dogs were outside in the kennels, just as well we did. It was mightily scary - were were having an extension built and had scaffolding everywhere, my OH said it was just like having a big Faraday cage.....lasted for 2 to 3 hours with deafening thunder.

Also in the 90s - early evening storm at around 7.30pm, very fast moving with lightning every couple of seconds, brief but impressive. I think the OH was a bit miffed because I insisted he still had enough time to finish replacing a couple of glass panels in the greenhouse roof....

Incredible lightning display also in 1992, it was so good that several neighbours congregated on the little green by our cottage with chairs and wine! Lasted for around 3 hours then all of a sudden it stopped, the heavens opened for 30 mins and that was that. 

Hit by SLWs near Thetford on our way down to London, suddenly saw the trees on the right bend almost double followed by a branch bouncing off the bonnet of the car. About 800m further on a sizeable tree had come down across the A11, about 20 chaps moved it off the road. Large amounts of debris everywhere, don't remember seeing a tornado report so assuming SLWs. 

Dog sitting for a friend nr Kimbolton (this would have been early 90s). Very hot and humid weather all week - got woken up around midnight by 2 collies and an Aussie sitting on my head, so got up and went to check the others, 3 girls in the lunge all fast asleep and 2 boys in the indoor kennels who thought I was taking them for a late night walk 🙄 Anyway, went back to bed, everything was quiet. About 30 mins later, same thing. Got up etc etc. Just dozed off again when there was an almighty crash. Aussie on head again. OK, definitely thunder. Weirdest storm ever, deafening shotgun thunder but only every 20 mins or so, lasted until around 4am. Probably the worst night's sleep I've ever had! 

Pic from July 2015.

FourTwentyNine1.jpg

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My worst storm was 21st April this year. It was moving straight towards me for 100 miles then veered right at the last minute! 😅

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Best recent storm here was 18th September 2014. 

I didn't expect much that day although it had been humid and hazy but in the evening there was distant lightning approaching from the east/south east. It then stopped for a bit until at around 7:30pm deep booms of thunder were approaching and it had become night. It lasted for two hours with very loud thunder directly overhead every couple of seconds. The rain was very torrential and I just remember that the lightning was everywhere with intense flashes and strong gusts. Probably the best and scariest storm I've ever experienced. 

Edited by ThundersnowDays

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Early August 2007...one that sticks in my mind to this day. A very localised but intense cell which seemingly just developed in situ early evening time and lasted for an hour or two without moving much at all. 

Prolific lightning, booming thunder and the roads turned into literal rivers of hail and flood water. 

I did have some pictures of the flooding but they are long gone now. Suffice to say people's homes were flooded out which is quite unusual for this location.

2007 was a great year for convection in one form or another here.

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July 1st/2nd 1968

Stationary thundery trough lying from Devon to Merseyside. Thunder and lightning recorded as being near continuous for 24 hours. Observer at Shrewsbury in Shropshire recorded 9 separate thunderstorms (including one notably severe travelling storm running S-N along the trough) before giving up counting! Red//brown rain from Saharan dust. Hail in excess of 5cm recorded including a stone of 7.5cm at Cardiff. Clear recollection of daytime darkness and the explosion from a nearby electricity substation as a result of it taking a direct hit from a bolt.

July 3rd 2001

Lightning strikes recorded in excess of 80 per minute. My rain gauge recorded 59mm from the storm on this night but I suspect more than that amount fell. Notably dark before the storm cell was even within reasonable range as a result of the huge anvil shadow that preceded it. 

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in Cambridgeshire - sometime mid-late July 2015 - absolutely incredible storm throughout the night with continuous thunder/lightning and biblical rain.

As a young boy in Derby - 9 July 1981 - I think this was noted for its significance in a weather book I once read.

Of all time/anywhere .... in Malaysia a few weeks ago. Extraordinary and they seem to get it on a daily basis which may slightly spoil the novelty factor.

Edited by BurwellWeatherWatch

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I remember coming home from holidays late august 2008 in belfast, as we drove on and on inland the heat coming through the opened windows of the car was extraordinary to say the least. We passed through a large hail shower then the flashing started. My mum and sister were terrified but me and my dad were peering out the window at that amazing storm, rumble after rumble, it continued  for most of the night

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On ‎04‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 20:08, Mapantz said:

I've posted this on here a few times in the past.. June 1983 when a supercell hit Dorset. We had golf ball-sized hail here which destroyed the garden and injured my brother. That was the worst storm i've ever witnessed.

j.1477-8696.1983.tb04829.x.fp.png

I work on a farm .can not remember the year. was about the same time of year first cut of silage. large hail flattened some crops. boke many skylights on the barns.

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