Today was predicted to be a beautiful day for most of the day with scattered thunderstorms later in the afternoon. Little did we know that one of these "scattered thunderstorms" would turn out to be more than just a thunderstorm.
We were down at Lake Harriet late in the afternoon, more like early evening. We'd been there for some time, enjoying the sights and having some ice cream and popcorn by the Lake Harriet bandstand. We decided to take a trolley ride, a historic trolley line that just goes between lakes Harriet and Calhoun and back. The trolley got as far as Calhoun and stopped, and then we saw some dark storm clouds over Lake Calhoun and a severe thunderstorm siren went off. So the trolley traipsed back to Lake Harriet and we started hoofing it home, hoping to beat the storm home.
Today's technology allows the warning systems to be sounded with more than enough warning...provided you drove somewhere and can get back in a car and drive to safety. But we did not drive, we walked. So we are walking as speedily as possible with Wayne pulling the two girls in the wagon (they were very happy to comply and stay in, as opposed to wanting to walk themselves). Pretty soon the storm cloud blots out the sun, and we start trotting. We get as far as 45th St and start feeling some sprinkles. We increase to a run. A woman offers to have us wait out the storm in her house, but we turn down her request, since we're so close to home.
We turn the corner of her block and the hail begins. And gets bigger. And harder. And bigger. Within half a block you can hardly see across the street, or anything else for that matter. The girls went from laughing as we ran to screaming as ice pellets hit them on their heads. Wayne pulled them under an overhang at Southwest High School (two blocks from our house) and yells to me over the noise, "I'll run home and get the van, wait here."
God bless him, he took off in the hail, running as fast as he could considering the conditions. Not a minute after he leaves the wind turns and comes straight at us under the overhang. I instruct Lindsey to put her head down in the wagon and pull one of the seatbacks of the wagon over to head to protect her from the hail, while I hold Marissa and turn towards the building to protect her. It was beating on my back, against the backs of my legs and everything and I wondered how long this would last before it turned again. Well, it did turn again, this time it came from the side. So we scooted over a little bit more and turned away from the new direction. Finally it let up some, but got just as heavy again (thankfully this time just straight down) before Wayne finally came up in the van. We rushed the two girls into the van and took off, leaving the wagon abandoned by the side of the high school.
The girls had been crying and screaming all through this. Poor things are now absolutely traumatized by storms. I suspect that our girls who used to sleep through every storm, every booming thunder and sizzling lightning will now be up and in our beds at the slightest hint of a storm.
We got home and were surprised to find one of the neighbor kids, a teenager from next door, in our house. He had been home alone and it was a bit much for him to take, so he came over to seek some company to ride it out...only to find an empty house. (We left our house unlocked when we left.)
We took the girls upstairs and everyone changed clothes into dry ones, wiped tears and combed out wet hair. Devon stayed at our house until his dad got home (he'd been a ways away and had to drive home through the storm), and we didn't end up eating until after 8:30 at night.
Lindsey insisted on someone staying with her until she was asleep, and Marissa did the same as well. We're just very glad that everyone is home safe and sound.On this last photo, I was amazed to see the mist rising up from the hail as it evaporated not even 15 minutes after the storm ended. The patterns within the hail on the street is caused by the rivers of water that had been running -- I had never seen rain fall that fast that hard, and the water in our street had been up to the curb.