Hail in northwest Berkeley last night/Photo: Alan Tobey

Berkeleysider Alan Tobey used Berkeleyside’s iPhone app last night to send us photos of “the largest hail I’ve ever seen” in Berkeley. Tobey took the photo in the Westbrae neighborhood.

Shortly after, Alina Constantinescu sent us a startling photo of Solano Avenue after the hail. Her comment: “The weather (or maybe the season?) changed while we enjoyed a plate of pasta.”

Solano Avenue after the hail/Photo: Alina Constantinescu

In the Elmwood there was no hail but torrential rain and ominous thunder.

Did your part of Berkeley have any unusual weather yesterday?

Lance Knobel

Lance Knobel (co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine in Britain,...

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  1. I shoveled about 75 lb of hail on my deck into a nice pile..Sunday morning, I still have a couple of handfuls left unmelted.

  2. Just a reminder to all you wired Berkeleyites: When it thunderstorms,unless you have one of those surge protectors with back-up power capacity (about $85), a power outage will crash your hard drive. I have one of these and it’s already come in handy a couple of times this rainy winter. (If you can’t afford that, at least invest in the best surge protectors—they are not all created equal, and are certainly not = to a regular power strip. A fried computer is a useless one.)
    Or just stick with your (unplugged) laptop when it storms

  3. I’m In Denmark visiting my parents and heard about this weather from my wife Rosy. I can’t believe that I have better weather here in Copenhagen than it is in Berkeley. Maybe I should move back to Denmark? (just kidding :-).

  4. We had hail mixed with *really* heavy rain here near San Pablo Park (Let’s call it Oregon and Sacramento St). More remarkable was lightening to the west with forks that were horizontal to the horizon and very distinct. Thrilling!

  5. South Berkeley, near 8th and Channing. Hail, bright flashes of lightning followed very rapidly by very loud thunder.

  6. A Dark & Stormy night with lightning, thunder and hail

    We see hail about once a year, but never for this long. It’s the first time I ever remember being able to walk on a carpet of hailstones.

    The girls (Poudini and Baby T) were safe and sound inside the house, so I decided to take video of the hail rattling upon our skylight … and then a flash of lightning. It seems to have been particularly strong in Thousand Oaks, Westbrae and the Berkeley Hills – we heard about a lightning strike in a huge redwood tree.

    Photos of our deck and garden look particularly lovely.

    Full blog post and youtube video at … http://goo.gl/WgWpr


  7. I was working late in downtown Berkeley when I heard the pelting. Within seconds I saw in my Facebook and Twitter feed pictures all these awesome photos coming through. So I had to run out and take some of my own. One turned out OK, of downtown Center Street:

    I did this Twitter search for hail, within 15 miles of Berkeley, with links attached: http://ow.ly/4hI9k

    I found some pretty cool photos, like kids sledding in Albany:

    And here’s a guy skiing in Albany too:

    Driving on ice

    Thought Albany’s Patch had a great photo gallery:

  8. While watching tense !ulls v.Indiana Pacers – maybe 40 seconds left power went out! We live in North Berkeley Hills! OMG! Whayt thunder and lightening storm! Sadly Bulls lost! 🙁

  9. Daughter and I in turns took long, running slides down our ice-sheeted sidestreet.

    Who needs snow?

  10. Was driving back from downtown Oakland and passed the Berkeley High football field – completely covered! I guess it stuck more on the astroturf than on grass or asphalt.

  11. Huge hail off and on last night near Grizzly Peak/Shasta Rds, accompanied by very loud thunderclaps and serious lightning. We were without power from 8:30-11:30 pm.

  12. I lived on the 6th, top floor of a building with downtown, a block from BART. I was aware of the lightning for a long time before the downpour. And the downpour quickly turned into hail. I could hear it pounding on the roof, down the sides of my building and into our courtyard. My windows, in a new (2 years old) building, rumbled from the wind.

    It was actually pleasantly thrilling to experience nature in such high energy form. But I lived in the Upper Midwest (Minneapolis) most of my life, in a three story Victorian. My first floor was a rental unit and I became accustomed to living ‘up’ in my two-story home. I had a two-story atrium with windows all the way to the top, plus many skylights on the roof. All the windows were privacy windows, position so my near neighbors could not see into my home, nor I into theirs so I never covered the windows and I loved the feeling of being perched ‘up’ in the rain, snow, sun, shadow, and wind.

    In the summer and fall, the house was densely shaded by the 110+ year old elm tree, which, alas, was declared dead by the city since I sold that home. That grand elm tree shaded three,three-story homes. It would feel like living in a bald spot to me now.

    But with the elm tree wrapped over and around my windows, with or without leaves, depending on the time of year, I loved every minute I spent in that house during rain, snow, winds, and hail. I felt like I lived in that tree.

    Up on the third story was another, completely different experience because up there, was was above much of the tree and my views of the weather were completely differently.

    Ever since, I have longed to recreate a more direct experience of the weather than I got in my first California home. My first place in CA was in a second-story condo, nested around a very nicely landscaped courtyard but the only view was the top of shrubbery. I know there are some tall stately oaks in CA but there weren’t any tall trees in this mid-century-built complex. I was, as I said, a very nicely landscape space but there was little to see.

    Now, perched in the sky, with views of the Berkeley hills peeking in my view, and endless sky, I don’t get the cosy feeling I used to get under my dear old elm tree. How I loved that tree. I am so glad I didn’t live there any longer when the city decided the tree had to come down. As it is, I mourn it but if I still lived there under the bald, unshaded sun, without the comfort of that cooling and embracing shade — I used to feel so embraced by that tree! — . . my weather/sky experience atop downtown Berkeley is different but I have come to love my view. When I moved in here, I resolved to love the view, for I expect to live here a long, long time.

    When I awaken each morning, I try to calculate the time based on the sundial outside my window. This ‘sundial’ is simply the rounded tower of the other side of my building. Based on where the shadows fall on the wall, I can accurately tell the time. So I awaken, glance at the sundial and then check the clock to see if I am right. After two years, I have learned to adjust to the changing seasons, as the sun rises at different times and at different angles and I am right about the time each day. I have come to love my view, love what I learn about the changing sky conditions. Sometimes the fog dips down below the top of my building, even to the point where it covers my window. I love that. Mostly, it clear and sunny with overcast sky often, of course, but mostly it is always bright. And monotonous.

    So last night, the light show was a thrill. I stopped what I was doing and just watched the sky for a long while. When the downpour began, it was another thrill. And then, by the time the hail was pounding down, all the high energy was happy excitement for me.

    Wow. I live on the earth. Nature touches me, even in my very urban world.

    This experience was very satisfying.

    It was not so satisfying this morning when I trudged over to the farmers market in the cold rain. I have this one pair of shoes that I slip on most often to run neighborhood errands. I don’t understand why this one pair of shoes, a pair of ‘earth shoes’, as it happens, seem to catch the rainfall as I walk. It seems like my socks become wet after walking just one half a block. Slip-ons, I don’t quite understand where the rain falls so it is able to roll inside the shoe. But it does. I know other shoes I own keep my feet dry but I forget and seem to have on the wrong shoes every time it rains. I can’t stand it when my feet get wet because then they get cold.

    So my trip to the farmers market became a shivered rush. I did my regular rounds, purchasing the same things I tend to buy each week, chatting with my regular vendors, which was much easier to do today because there were not many customers during the rain.

    I felt assaulted, trudging through downtown, sloshing in the rain, the wind actually blowing back my Marmot hood, which is a rainjacket designed for windy and rain. I stopped at one point and secured the hood as snugly as possible, zipped everything as tightly as possible, pulled the rainhood so the visor left me almost blind as I walked and still the strong winds blew that hood back. It was a pain. I was cold. My feet felt like wet, icy chunks of chill. But, still and all, it was great. I was cold, icy, wet and alive alive alive.

    All in all, a fine winter storm.

  13. We witnessed a spectacular display of hail, lighting and thunder. The garden was covered in about 2″ of ice pellets. We lost about a third of the new Japanese maple tree leaves, that had just started to come out this week. There’s an incredible mess of leaves in the street.

  14. Hailstones froze across a large section of Lake Anza last night! My friend in the Park Hills neighborhood showed me a portion of the lake still white and frozen this morning at 11 am. Anyone have a photo?

  15. We were downtown last night at about 8:30, and the hail was coming down really hard – it was about an inch deep on the cars, roads and sidewalks.

  16. I live in N. Berkeley hills and we had quite a bit of hail and were treated to an incredible “light show”.

  17. Car was parked on Telegraph near Parker; we were eating a very nice meal at Mount Everest restaurant at the corner. Didn’t notice anything while dining, but when we left there was a small amount of hail on the car.

  18. I live near College & Parker, on the north border of Elmwood. I saw no hail right there, but when my bus passed the Cal athletic field at Haste, the field was so thickly covered in hail that it looked like a hockey rink. So Dwight may have been the southern border or the hailstorm.

  19. Thunderstorms are rare in this area, so when I saw the flash and heard the boom, I knew that a collision of air masses was happening above Solano & San Pablo. The rain must have been blown into the cold upper atmosphere, where it froze and came down as all that hail — more than I’ve ever seen here; awesome! So we got our snow after all.

  20. Was in Vanessa’s Vietnamese Bistro on Solano last night enjoying their warming sweet and sour prawn soup when a shower of hail the size of peanuts clattered down outside. The whole restaurant, including and patrons servers, raced out with child-like glee and cheered. Then went back to dinner with new perspective.

  21. We were in Elmwood for dinner last night and it did hail. It just didn’t stick. As we drove home through the campus to North Berkeley, we found the hail had accumulated enough to cover the ground.

  22. I live in N. Berkeley, near Solano, and the quantity of hail falling last night was amazing; the walkways in my yard were completely white. At 7:00 this morning there were still collections of hail on soil patches in my garden. Interesting that there was none in the Elmwood; I’m curious as to the boundaries of the storm.