Storm photographer Mike Hollingshead has been chasing the worst storms in America for the better part of the last two decades. He’s seen quite a few storms and yet, he’s never seen one quite like the storm he experienced last month in his hometown of Blair, Nebraska.
On June 3, heavy winds and large hail ripped through Nebraska and other parts of the Midwest in what meteorologists called a “land hurricane.” The storm was so unique because it combined elements of a derecho storm with a supercell, producing incredible hail with devastating results.
A derecho is a windstorm that has extremely powerful straight-line winds, but rarely produces hail. Supercells are massive thunderstorms, characterised by a deep, persistent, updraft. Supercells often produce hailstones, but the cyclical nature of supercell wind ensures that large hail usually just hits the roofs of buildings, doing little damage.
When the two combined, it produced massive hailstones being whipped at buildings, houses, and cars with devastating force.
Hollingshead drove around Blair after the storm to check out the aftermath. It wasn’t pretty. He shared some photos with us here, but you can check out more at his blog, Extreme Instability.
Wind speeds outside of the towns got as high as 70-100 mph. The hail literally forced people off the road.
Wind speeds in town were closer to 50-60 mph, but the destruction was no less devastating.
The Super 8 Motel didn’t fare well. The hail ripped through the siding of the motel.
This car dealership was hit bad by the storm.
Nearly every car had the back windshields blown out by the hail.
When Hollingshead first saw this abandoned car, he assumed that the majority of the damage had been done by a falling tree branch. After looking closer, he realised that all of the damage was from the hail.
Branches and leaves were knocked onto this roof by the storm.
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