THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2000

Area sizes up hailstorm
Some portions of area got only rain, while others got several inches of hail
By Brian Ojanpa
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — A hailstorm that hit the Mankato area Wednesday produced stones that eyewitnesses sized up thusly:




And yes, ``golf-ball-sized.’’

``It was just like a blizzard. It kept going and going and going. First nickel-sized, then pea-sized,’’ said Dale Larson of Door Engineering and Manufacturing in Kasota, which had its shed roof parted by the weight of water and piled hail.

Larson said the hail, which lasted about six minutes, made for a two-inch ground accumulation — and deeper where 40-mph-plus winds whipped it into drifts.

The fast-moving early afternoon storm dumped about an inch of needed rain in some locales — and much unneeded hail in others.

``A ton of beans are going to end up being replanted,’’ said Kevin Jeurissen, a manager at LaSalle Farmers Grain Co., where marble-sized hail covered roads and fields.

Nicollet farmer Rick (``marble size and some golf ball size’’) Rosin said it’s too early to tell whether he’ll have to replant. Meanwhile, he marveled at the surreal effect produced by the hail accumulations.

``It was really weird. It created steam that was like a fog.’’

Rosin said it also created pronounced temperature variations between hail/no hail areas.

``I was driving back to my farm just afterwards and it felt like driving from a June day into a January day.’’

The brunt of the storm tracked west to east, and just north of Mankato. KEYC-TV meteorologist Jamie Kagol said rainfall at the North Mankato station measured one-third of an inch as of Wednesday afternoon.

A tornado watch in the Mankato area was in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Rain is also in the forecast for today, ahead of clearing skies that will lead to mostly sunny conditions on Friday, with highs in the lower to middle 60s.

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