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Flagstaff rocked by hail storm

Flagstaff rocked by hail storm

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Flagstaff residents awoke to the sound of pounding hail Monday morning.

Hail damaged vehicles at a local car dealership, broke garden lights and tore off leaves and needles from trees.

Residents reported quarter-sized and ping pong ball-sized hail falling to a depth of 1 to 2 inches in some parts of the city.

"The hail broke my solar lights and shredded most of my flowers that were enjoying the final days of summer," said Jamilee Scheiwe of University Heights. "In my back yard, at the peak of the storm, hail was actually floating due to the amount of flooding my property was experiencing."

Flagstaff resident Jessica Bartlett logged hail near her home off Lake Mary Road at the size of a quarter. She took a photograph to confirm the size, setting up the hail stone next to a quarter.

"Well, the hail on the roof is what woke our family up, and I instantly picked up a piece to check it out," Bartlett stated. "My 5-year-old son couldn't believe that it was as big as a quarter."

Damage to cars was mainly cosmetic.

"We have about a couple of hundred vehicles with hail damage," said Kirk Wade, new car sales manager at Tyrrell-Marxen Chevrolet off West Route 66.

Wade said the insurance company was coming out Monday to make an assessment of the damage. Marble-sized hail covered the lot when he got to work, Wade said.

Wade added that the brunt of the damage appeared cosmetic -- a person has to be looking at just the right angle to see the damage. No windows or windshields were broken.

In his 19 years at the business, Wade said there has never been an issue with hail damage.

"I was pretty shocked," Wade said.

HEAVY BUT BRIEF

According to the National Weather Service station in Bellemont, reports of heavy hail began coming in at about 6 a.m.

"While it hailed pretty hard, it was pretty brief," said Meteorologist Chris Outler. The storm was quick-moving and lasted in most areas about 5 to 10 minutes, Outler added.

Reports from the west side were of quarter-sized hail covering the ground to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. The biggest hail size report was that of a ping pong ball, Outler said.

Hail is produced when ice particles are held in clouds by strong updrafts, Outler said. The ice particles continue to grow in size until they are too heavy to be suspended in the clouds by the updraft and fall.

Outler also said that more storms are expected today, and the storm system is hanging around, keeping the chance for precipitation in the forecast through Wednesday.

Larry Hendricks can be reached at 556-2262 or lhendricks@azdailysun.com.

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