Anyone remember this hailstorm?


(No, not this one. It's a FLICKR PHOTO by marblegravy of the aftermath of a February 2007 hailstorm in Canberra, Australia.)  

But Samuel Cohen writes with a memory of one "hail-aceous" Maryland thunderstorm, one with hail so deep it's hardly believeable. Sam writes:

"I know that I did not imagine this, in the early 70's  1972-74 in July or August (I think it hit on a Wednesday or Thursday) we had a thunderstorm of which I have never seen before.  It hit right around 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. and the sky was black as if it was midnight.   A deluge, in Patterson Park trees were knocked down and in the streets.  In Dundalk they had 12 inches of hail and had to bring in a snow plow to remove the hail..I read it in the papers experienced the storm and had a friend who saw the hail...Can you look this up and tell me I'm not crazy??  My friend who experienced the hail has since moved away and none of my other friends remember this storm....

" To add to this at Fairmount Ave and Kenwood Aves (John's Bakery)  the cars were piled 3 cars high on each other and at the corner was Jerry Turner of WJZ with the film crew.  Every basement on Kenwood Ave was flooded and the city finally placed huge pipes there (it would always flood with any storm because of the hill coming down from St. Elizabeth's Church but this was the worse)  so it would never flood again...There were trees down everywhere on Baltimore Street..."

We're checking The Baltimore Sun's clip files. In the meantime, I forwarded Sam's question to Steve Zubrick, the science and operations officer out at the National Weather Service's Sterling forecast office. Here's his reply:

"Maybe the guy is crazy? Big storms have a way of getting "bigger" as one gets older you know.

"I did not find anything that matched the reader's description in our official "Storm Data", published by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

"I initially did an online search of Storm Data. I got some hits of interest...Jun 21, 1974, Aug 14, 1974. The Jun 21 date didn't really match. See below regarding Aug 14.

"Then I searched the official NCDC Storm Data publications online (scanned copies of the original Storm Data paper copies...which we only have back to the mid 90s.). I searched  the months of July and August for 1972, 1973 and 1974.

"I found several  other event of July 6, 1974, where street flooding was reported between Balt. City and Jappatown.

"Another was the Aug 14, 1974 date (found above)...where golf ball-size hail was reported in Towson and 50 kt wind gusts reported at Martin Field.

"June 6, 1973 had a report of a line of severe storms that crossed from Frederick to Baltimore County during the evening...but with just the usual hit-miss mainly tree damage.

"Perhaps the closest report was on the evening of July 8, 1972 of "severe hail" in the "Northeastern portion" of MD...but mentioned Baltimore County (but not any of the locales your reader had). The report did mention some places where the hail covered the ground (but didn't say exactly where)...

"So...not sure any of these dates match."I know (from personal knowledge)...that back on April 1, 1993 (no foolin'!)...that the MD Eastern Shore town of Denton, MD ...  received a copious fall of up to golf-ball size hail stones that covered the ground...requiring local transportation resources to plow the hail off the roads...and the hail was big...up to baseball size!:

"Note: I suspect not all reports of severe weather make it into "Storm Data", especially back in the early '70s. One only has to look at the size (in pages) of the Storm Data publications I examined for this request (Jul-Aug 1972-1974)...that averaged ~20 pages or so...compared to a more contemporary Storm Data (Apr 1993)...that was 120 pages long!"Steve Z."

So, readers, does anyone else out there remember Sam's hailstorm? Can you pinpoint the date and provide verification of plowable hail in Dundalk? If so, leave a comment below. Thanks!

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