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THROWBACK THURSDAY: Giant Hail Glaciers...

You look at this picture taken by Barbara Podzemny on August 13, 2004 near Clayton, New Mexico and your probably notice the cliffs in the background. Nothing special, right?


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I will tell you they are not cliffs at all. Maybe sand? Nope. Those are actually not cliffs behind the man in this photo, that is hail in a freak weather phenomena called Hail Glaciers!


A freak hail storm occurred in Clayton, New Mexico overnight on August 13, 2004. This storm was an amazing hail producer and left up to a foot of hail on the ground in some areas! While amazing, this doesn't explain the massive cliffs you see behind the man in the above picture. This hail was followed by as much as 5" of rain and the water washed all this hail downstream. As the hail came into a culvert, it began to back up and pile up. In the end, the next morning this freakish scene remained. There were mountains of hail with full cliffs as high as 15 feet lining both sides of this river! These mountains of hail are referred to as hail glaciers and they are VERY rare. Not only were there cliffs, but a tunnel actually had been cut through part of the hail mountains by the flood water. The hail remained in the area for nearly a month! UNBELIEVABLE!!! 


Here are a few more pictures courtesy of the NWS...


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Is This The Only Documented Hail Glacier?


While these hail glaciers are rare, we do have more documented cases that have occurred. Another famous hail glacier event occurred only a couple of years ago on April 11, 2012 in Amarillo, TX. A monster supercell t-storm formed in the afternoon on April 11, 2012 near Amarillo and was nearly stationary for over 4 hours! The hail piled up so much that US Highway 287 had to be closed for 12 hours after motorists were stranded! Here is a video of the wild event.




Some of the images of the 2012 Amarillo hail glacier are amazing! These are courtesy of the NWS...


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It seems like an almost unreal weather phenomena, but hail glaciers are real and when they happen it is stunning. WOW!




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