Surprise hailstorm hits region with marble-sized ice chunks


Ellicott City was treated to a surprise hailstorm yesterday that rained marble-sized ice chunks and sent folks scurrying for cover. The impromptu shower showed up shortly before 4 p.m. and lasted about 15 minutes.

"It was beautiful," said Ann Ryder, coordinator of Howard County government's information and referral office in the George Howard Building in Ellicott City. "I have been in hailstorms before. I have never been in such a downpour before."

Officials with the National Weather Service office in Sterling, Va., said there were reports of hail about 0.9-inch in diameter in Ellicott City, as well as in Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Carroll counties.

"We had some thunderstorms around the area that produced some hail, heavy rains and some lightning," said Dewey Walston, a meteorologist with the weather service. "There were also reports of hail in Riviera Beach, Linthicum and Mount Airy."

Howard County police said there were no reports of injuries or damage from the hail. In historic Ellicott City, the storm left behind colorful reminders.

"The amazing thing was that it looked like green snow because it mixed in with the falling leaves," said Melissa Arnold, director of marketing for the Howard County Tourism Council. "It totally covered the ground."

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