• September 17, 2014

Meteorologist: Sunday hailstorm not as bad

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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 11:40 pm

A cold front that hit the area Sunday night brought more hail and is causing area gardeners to cover their plants in case of a freeze this morning.

Central Texas residents reported less damage from Sunday’s storm compared to the March 28 storm that rolled through the area.

The National Weather Service received three reports of hail in the Fort Hood area, said Amanda Schroder, a meteorologist with the federal agency.

“The largest one was an inch in diameter,” Schroder said. “An inch diameter is important because that is the smallest it can be to be classified as severe.”

There also were reports of three-quarter-inch and penny-size hail, she said. The largest hail Sunday was reported 3 miles south of Killeen.

Copperas Cove residents also reported hail Sunday.

“It was maybe around pea size,” said Patrick Bickle, a Shawn Camp Insurance agent who lives in Copperas Cove. “I was in Copperas Cove when it started at about 8:05 p.m.”

Shawn Camp Insurance didn’t get nearly as many requests for claims at their Killeen or Copperas Cove offices Monday as the agency did after the March 28 storm, said Bickle and Amy Brown, the group’s vice president of operations.

“It was maybe two calls today compared to four days worth of calls last week,” Brown said.

Brown lives in Kempner, and the town didn’t see any hail during Sunday’s storm, she said.

Even though the NWS didn’t predict freezing temperatures this morning, some area residents were taking precautions to protect their gardens Monday.

Temple resident Mary Garcia, a backyard gardener, walked back and forth in the mud and cold in her garden to cover and protect her plants from possible frost predicted for this morning.

“Not every gardener covers things. My brother has sprinklers he tries to start before sunrise on mornings when it might frost,” Garcia said. “And he seems to have good success doing it that way. When my parents gardened, they would be out doing the same thing by hand before sunrise.”

Ron Lucksinger, Temple Feed & Supply owner, said there are various ways to protect plants.

“You can take precautions and do things the same way for years, but that doesn’t always work,” he said.

Most people cover their plants with plastic buckets, which is his favorite way. Others go out at daylight and wet the plants down to wash off the frost, Lucksinger said. While he covers his tomatoes and squash, it’s hard to cover row plants like beans and peas.

“Some people tell me they fill a plastic milk jug with water and put it beside the plant, and the plant doesn’t freeze because the jug absorbs the cold,” Lucksinger said.

The rain from the storm produced almost 1 inch of water at Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Schroder said. The site recorded the most rainfall for the storm event.

A cold front collided with a dry line, Schroder said. “They converged and fired off the storm.”

For most of the week ahead, the weather looks pretty pleasant, Schroder said. Thursday does have another chance of rain.

Today will have a high in the mid-60s and a low in the mid-30s, stated the National Weather Service’s website. Wednesday will see highs in the upper 60s and a low in the mid-50s.

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