A hail of a storm

Yesterday started out as another beautiful day here in Custer, South Dakota. Hot (high 80s), clear blue skies, and some moderate winds, just like every day here. The forecast called for a 50% chance of rain in the afternoon, and by around 4:30PM the sky got very dark, winds picked up, and some intermittent sprinklings of rain came down. Then at around 5PM things suddenly got a lot more intense. I grabbed my iPhone and took a video out the front window of Rover. The storm (and video) lasted over 15 minutes, but I’ve trimmed it down to around 5 minutes since even severe weather can get boring after a while—at least if you’re watching it on video. I assure you we weren’t bored… concerned was more like it! Check out the video below, and turn up your volume for the full “hail vs. motorhome” effect:

Once the hail stopped, we stepped outside and the air was 20–30 degrees cooler! Everyone came out of their RVs to assess the situation. Rover and Red both seemed to be in good shape. In fact, the only damage we could spot was to our folding aluminum outside table… it has lots of little dings in it. The other campers near us also seemed to be OK. Whew!

The next day we read about the weather event in the Washington Post’s weather section. This same weather front created several inches of snow in the Montana, Wyoming and Idaho Rockies, and the National Weather Service said “This pattern should not happen in July.”

Capital Weather Gang article

Capital Weather Gang article

Other than the hail, we’re really enjoying our stay and once we move on we’ll be blogging about all the other amazing sights in this area!

Opie doesn't seem to think anything is out of the ordinary

Opie doesn’t seem to think anything is out of the ordinary

One of the larger pieces of hail we found

One of the larger pieces of hail we found

This pile of hail formed under our slide topper where it poured off the roof

This pile of hail formed under our slide topper where it poured off the roof

Michael Fischer

After a high-tech career spanning software development and systems administration to leading hundreds of engineers across cities and continents, I'm now slowing things down a bit. Traveling full-time in an RV with my awesome wife Kathie and our two big dogs Max and Opie, I'm now pursuing smaller personal software projects while seeing North America up close.


  1. Amanda   •  

    I am 10 miles up from you in Hill City, SD and we got the same crazy weather.

    • Mike   •     Author

      I hear that Rapid City also got it and there were some RVs that were damaged. Must’ve been worse up north…

  2. Cathi   •  

    I had wondered what it would be like in a thunder or hail storm. Glad to know the neither vehicle was damaged. What type of roof is on Red? It isn’t too uncommon to have a hail storm in SD in July. There was another YouTube from July 2012 with a flooded KOA following a thunder/hail storm.

    • Mike   •     Author

      Red (the Honda CR-V) is just regular sheet metal. Rover (the motorhome) has a fiberglass roof. We actually had hail a few days ago too, but it was pretty brief and mild. Apparently this one was pretty huge…

  3. Michael S   •  

    Wow I love your travels and Custer and 36LA.

    Did the hail do any body damage

    • Mike   •     Author

      No damage to the RV, but it looks like the hood of our tow car has lots of tiny dings in it. They’re barely noticeable though—it took us a week to realize they were there.

  4. Dave & Diane   •  

    Wow, crazy stuff!!

  5. Julie Bennett   •  

    Wow that was a HAIL of a storm alright! Amazing – at first it looked like snow, those were some serious hail stones. Crazy weather for SD in July… we had perfect weather there just a souple of weeks back. Having some serious rain right now in St Clair, MI but NOTHING like you guys experienced there. worst storm we have experienced so far in the coach was a huge snow storm in Williams AZ on March 1st for 2 days (unexpected!) and the occasional day of serious rain, but yours tops them all so far :)

    • Mike   •     Author

      Julie, it was quite a surprise for us too, especially that it lasted for 15 minutes. Hopefully that’s our “foul weather” event for the year and we’ll have nice and easy weather for a long time to come!

  6. DRMASTEG   •  

    WOW…Amazing… Love your posts

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