Yesterday afternoon, the Dallas/Fort Worth region was slammed with what may very well turn out to be one of the costliest hailstorms in recent history ... and with all due respect to the fine weather men and women that populate the Metroplex's airwaves, and to the National Weather Service, this was not a banner day for severe weather prediction, as evinced by the following tweets and the NWS's final Day 1 convective outlook, which was issued at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon:
TONIGHT: Partly cloudy & muggy. An isolated (20%)tstorm overnight along Red River. Rest of N TX will be dry. Winds: SE 5-10. Low: 73.— Pete Delkus (@wfaaweather) June 13, 2012
The rain has ended across the Metroplex and rain/storm chances this aftn.will only be around 20%.RShade— NBCDFW Weather (@NBCDFWWeather) June 13, 2012
No worries at the Rangers game tonight. It will be dry...no rain in the forecast. Go Rangers!!!— Pete Delkus (@wfaaweather) June 13, 2012
As far as I recall, yesterday's setup began with a single isolated cell that developed in Collin County late in the 4:00 p.m. hour, and proceeded to track in a southeasterly direction, prompting this Delkus tweet:
We have one little tstorm in N TX right now. Its moving ne at 20mph thru sw Collin county. It's NOT severe. wfaa.com/weather/intera…— Pete Delkus (@wfaaweather) June 13, 2012
And then ... well, and then s--- hit the fan, metaphorically speaking, as the cell in question decided to go supercellular, and developed from a strong, but not severe storm with some low-level hail/wind potential into a monster in just a matter of minutes:
One of the interesting things about this storm was how the original NWS warning on it had it moving in a mostly ESE direction, and it more or less decided to go on a SSE track, which took it through the 635/75 interchange, through University Park, and then into the Village/NorthPark Mall/White Rock Lake/Greenville Ave. areas, where it caused major damage during the 5:00-7:00 window with numerous people on the road. I attempted to bail from my palatial estate at the Village for the relative safety of the parking garage underneath Whole Foods (thinking of my car first and foremost, of course), but I ran out of time to execute such a maneuver because I stared slack-jawed at GR2Analyst for too long, and ended up taking shelter under some covered parking as pea- to marble-sized hail began falling.
Here's the size of one of the hailstones I picked up during the height of the storm's intensity, which was probably a little larger than 2":
And some video I shot during the second major wave of hail:
And, of course, there were numerous reports of tennis ball-sized hail throughout the area, with both this storm and the Irving/Grand Prairie cell producing clearly visible and well-defined wall clouds and showing indications of rotation at certain points during the event ... interestingly, the NWS never issued a tornado warning on any of the DFW cells, and there was never a funnel sighted, so there's that.
I'll be very interested to see how this storm ends up comparing to the historic 1995 MayFest hailstorm, which, according to Wikipedia, was responsible for total storm damage in the vicinity of $2 billion ($1.1 billion insured losses) ... and for those who are of a meteorlogical persuasion, I'd be very interested to hear your take on where the local weather pundits and the NWS went so wrong in forecasting -- or, more accurately, not forecasting -- this event.
I realize that freak storms occur all the time that defy the convective outlooks, but it seems pretty apparent that nobody saw an event of this nature coming, and, basically, I'm curious as to how we went from "it's not going to rain" to gigantic ice balls of death raining down from the sky at rush hour and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage.