May 1, 1997 Severe Weather Event - HAIL

The May 1st Severe Weather Event which broke out over the Middle Atlantic States will be remembered mainly for dropping copious amounts of large hail on the region. Thunderstorms developed along a cold front which trailed from New England southward to the Carolinas. Our office began receiving calls from spotters regarding severe weather at around 2:45 p.m. and we received our final call at around 6:30 p.m. Over the period of about 4 hours, our office issued warnings for an incredible 46 of 66 counties within our County Warning Area (CWA)!! Our office received numerous reports of large hail (some as large as baseballs) and very strong winds (up to 60 mph) from the resultant storms. The storms felled trees and power lines as well as damaged many cars and broke windows. Two people suffered minor injuries from the large hail. Total damage from the heavy weather ran well into the tens of millions of dollars. The city of Norfolk alone experienced more than ten million dollars in damage.

The pictures below were taken in the Ghent section of Norfolk immediately following the passage of the strongest storm.


This photo was taken looking West along Redgate Avenue.


The coin between these two hailstones is a quarter. The size of these stones was between one-and-a-half and one-and-three-quarters inches.