2003 - PART 6:
THE 26th NOVEMBER HAILSTORM
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the 26th some atmospheric instability hinted at the
possibility of thunderstorms. Radar indicated that these
were developing to the south, over the Cambrian
Mountains, while a colleague on UK Weatherworld reported
thunder near Brecon, so a recce was made up to Dylife and
on to Llanidloes....
A very late autumnal scene from the top of the
pass looking towards Glaslyn and Plynlimon. The
precipitation over the mountains was falling from
a small cumulonimbus to the N of the main,
I drove through it on the way to Llanidloes:
hail, sleet and snow...
The northern side of the bigger cumulonimbus
(from Llanidloes to Brecon, nearly 40 miles
across) came into view towards Llanidloes but was
not incredibly photogenic. This is looking east
at mammatus on the anvil underside...
and this is looking west over Llyn Clywedog...
On through Llanidloes towards Llangurig, I just
missed the precipitation core's northern side.
But I soon found myself in its aftermath. Turning
west along the A44 the hills and road gradually
got whiter and whiter with fallen hailstones....
Looking west up towards Eisteddfa Gurig. The road
got dodgier and dodgier towards the top of the
pass. An inch or more of hail had fallen: this
might not seem much but beginner drivers ought to
take note that, apart from black ice, swathes of
hailstones create the most dangerous driving
conditions. You are basically driving on lots of
little ball-bearings made of ice which in terms
of traction score pretty low on the scale! Snow
is much less hazardous by comparison. My wheels
were spinning as I pulled out of the layby and I
took the pass at a crawl as did, thankfully, all
other traffic; the next five miles were all like
this before I got out of it between Ponterwyd and
Later that afternoon I headed back from
Aberystwyth to Machynlleth in fading light, but
had to stop at Glandyfi to capture this lone
cumulonimbus towering beyond the estuary...
By the time I approached Machynlleth the Cb had
decayed. This is not a great photo due to lack of
light & longish exposure, but it illustrates
what happens. The convection weakens and the
towers of cloud collapse, but the anvil aloft
remains, becoming severed from its parent cloud.
Off it drifts as a mass of cirrus. Sometimes on
thundery days many of these can be seen in the
sky. USA storm-chasers refer to them as
Not the best day for photography, then, but as
Mid-Wales hailstorms go that was quite a bad one!
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