Severe Thunderstorm Outbreak (Major Hail Event), Monday June 16, 2008

The second major severe weather outbreak of the month rapidly developed during the early afternoon on Monday June 16 as moderate cooling aloft, caused by the approach of a strong upper air low pressure system, moved over a moderately warm and moist boundary layer (surface) with air temperatures rising into the upper 70s in most locations (low 80s in the mid Hudson valley around Poughkeepsie) and dewpoints hovering in the low 60s. The thermal set-up, with little cap present over the region, created a highly favorable environment for strong thunderstorm updrafts to form. In addition to favorable thermodynamics, (very cool air aloft over moderately warm and moist air at the ground) moderate wind shear in mainly speed existed over the entire Northeast allowing for both multicell severe storms and a few supercell thunderstorms to form. The combination of the storm type, severe multicells and supercells with rotating updrafts, along with low freezing levels present in the atmosphere and steep lapse rates on the 16th, set up a particularly conducive environment for very large hail to form with any thunderstorms. And in fact, the vast majority of the severe weather reports from the event (over 60 locally) were comprised of very large hail that ranged from 3/4" in diameter to 2" in diameter (penny sized up to golf ball and hen egg sized chunks of ice.) The only reports of damaging wind in the local area came out of Ulster and Dutchess counties associated with an intense supercell thunderstorm with sustained rotating updraft. (It is likely that the warmer boundary layer in Ulster and Dutchess counties contributed to a greater mixing potential of strong winds aloft down to the ground vs. the cooler boundary layer conditions across the remainder of the region which was likely responsible for limiting the total mixing potential of strong winds from aloft down to the ground, preventing widespread damaging winds from occurring)

Figure #1 is a Storm Prediction Center graphic depicting the total number of severe reports for the June 16, 2008 severe weather outbreak. Large damaging hail comprised the greatest number of severe weather reports with damaging wind events relatively limited. The outbreak, like the event on June 10, encompassed a large portion of the Northeast.

Storm Prediction Center plot of severe weather reports for the June 16, 2008 outbreak 

A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for all of eastern New York and western New England from 11am through 7pm with severe thunderstorms rapidly firing over western and central New York and Pennsylvania by the late morning along and ahead of a surface cold front. Through the initial phase of the event, thunderstorms generally remained as discrete individual cells with broad mid level rotating updrafts (weak supercells). The supercells almost immediately began producing large hail with the first severe t-storm affecting Otsego County between 12:30 and 1:30pm. Thunderstorms advanced into the Schoharie and Mohawk valleys and Adirondacks through 2pm with a supercell evolving over western Schenectady County by 2pm. That storm, pictured in the following two radar images, dropped south of due east and blasted much of northern Albany County with giant hail between 2:30pm and 3:30pm. The storm continued to produce large hail along its path through northern Rensselaer and northern Berkshire counties through 4:15pm.

Figure #2: Albany NEXRAD base reflectivity image, lowest tilt, 3:14pm Monday June 16, 2008: Supercell thunderstorm over northern Albany County dropping hail up to 2" in diameter

Albany NEXRAD base reflectivity, 3:14pm Monday June 16, 2008 

Figure #3: CBS6 severe weather analysis tool showing the large hail core in the Albany County storm at 3:14pm, Monday June 16, 2008. Hail up to 2" in diameter was falling from the storm at this time.

CBS6 severe weather analysis showing large hail core in the Albany County supercell, 3:14pm June 16, 2008 

Between 3:30pm and 5:00pm thunderstorms became less discrete forming into multicell short lines and clusters that eventually developed into a large mass of rain across Berkshire, Columbia, Ulster, and Dutchess counties before moving out of the region during the evening. Rainfall was locally torrential with amounts just shy of 3" reported in a few communities that were hit by several storm cells. On average, anywhere from 3/4" to 1" of rain was common from the Capital Region and Berkshire County on south and throughout the Catskills where the thunderstorms were most concentrated. Table #1 is a listing of rainfall amounts reported by WeatherNet 6 spotters that exceeded one inch.

Table #1: WeatherNet 6 rainfall reports (one inch or greater) for the June 16, 2008 Severe Weather Outbreak


County Rainfall Report

Albany (NWS Office)

Albany 1.55"
Albany (Airport) Albany 1.45"
Colonie Albany 1.25"


Albany 1.08"
Latham Albany 1.06"
Pittsfield, MA Berkshire 1.24"
Alford, MA Berkshire 1.10"
Chatham Center Columbia 2.83"
Kinderhook Columbia 2.60"
East Chatham Columbia 1.75"
Ghent Columbia 1.49"
Rhinebeck Dutchess 1.70"
Millbrook Dutchess 1.30"
East Greenbush Rensselaer 1.66" (one inch reported to have fallen in 25 minutes)
Stephentown Rensselaer 1.30"
Troy Rensselaer 1.12"
Delanson Schenectady 1.33"
Duanesburg Schenectady 1.07" to 1.33"
Charlotteville Schoharie 1.43"
Summit Schoharie 2.06"
West Shokan Ulster 2.11"
Worcester Otsego 2.20"

Severe weather cleared Dutchess and Litchfield counties by 7:00pm with rain from the entire system out of the region by 9:30pm. The passage of the cold front itself produced another broken line of showers and thunderstorms from west to east across the region between 10pm on the 16th and 2:00am on the 17th.

Click here for additional radar pictures of the June 16, 2008 severe thunderstorm event   

Click here for large hail and storm photographs  

Table #2 is a listing of the severe weather reports for the June 16, 2008 severe weather event published by the National Weather Service. Storm reports are collected by the NWS for the purpose of verifying the warnings that were issued and do not reflect the total number of hail occurrences or damage that may have occurred in the region, only what was reported.

Table #2

Town County Severe Weather Report Time
Laurens Otsego 1" diameter hail (quarter sized) 1:55 pm
Elk Creek Otsego 1" diameter hail 2.00 pm
Sloansville Schoharie 1" diameter hail 2:00 pm


Otsego 3/4" diameter hail (penny sized) 2:09 pm
Gloversville Fulton 1" diameter hail 2:12 pm
Esperance Schoharie 0.88" diameter hail (nickel sized) 2:12 pm
Ohio Herkimer 3/4" diameter hail 2:14 pm
Schenevus Otsego 3/4" diameter hail, again 2:25 pm
Middleburgh Schoharie 3/4" diameter hail 2:38 pm
Pittsfield Otsego 3/4" diameter hail 2:40 pm
Colonie Albany 1.5" diameter hail (ping pong ball sized) Rt. 155 & Central Ave. 2:50 pm
Guilderland Albany 1.25" to 2" diameter hail (hen egg sized) 2:54 pm
Oneonta Otsego 1" diameter hail 2:56 pm
Colonie Albany 1.5" to 1.75" diameter hail (golf ball sized) 2:57 pm
Niskayuna Schenectady 3/4" diameter hail 2:57 pm
Schenectady Schenectady 1.5" diameter hail 3:00 pm
Colonie Albany 1" diameter hail, one mile north of Central Ave. on New Karner Road 3:01 pm
Latham Albany 0.88" diameter hail 3:07 pm
Cohoes Albany 1.5" diameter hail 3:10 pm
Albany Albany 0.88" diameter hail (Albany NWS office, Fuller Road) 3:10 pm
East Branch Delaware 3/4" diameter hail 3:15 pm
Glenmont Albany 1" diameter hail 3:15 pm
Loudonville Albany 1" diameter hail 3:23 pm
North Greenbush Rensselaer 0.88" diameter hail 3:25 pm
East Greenbush Rensselaer 0.88" diameter hail 3:28 pm
East Greenbush Rensselaer 1" of rain in 25 minutes 3:37 pm


Greene 1.75" diameter hail (golf ball sized) 3:49 pm
Kinderhook Columbia 1" diameter hail 4:00 pm
North Adam, MA Berkshire 0.88" diameter hail 4:09 pm
Kinderhook Columbia 3/4" diameter hail 4:15 pm
Cedarville Herkimer 0.88" diameter hail 4:40 pm
Richfield Springs Otsego 1.5" diameter hail 4:45 pm
Jordanville Herkimer 1" diameter hail 4:45 pm
Ashokan Ulster Straight line wind damage, trees and wires down along a five mile stretch of Route 28, winds based on NWS damage survey are estimated to have ranged from 65 to 75 mph 4:55 pm
Lenox Dale, MA Berkshire 0.88" diameter hail 5:00 pm
Lee, MA Berkshire 1" diameter hail 5:16 pm
Lenox Dale, MA Berkshire 1" diameter hail 5:16 pm
Woodstock Ulster Wind damage, numerous trees and wire down 5:26 pm
Olivebridge Ulster Wind damage, trees blown down 5:28 pm
Kingston Ulster 3/4" diameter hail 5:30 pm
Hurley Ulster 1" diameter hail 5:30 pm
Esopus Ulster 1.75" diameter hail 5:38 pm
Rifton Ulster 1.75" diameter hail 5:40 pm
Ashland Greene 3/4" diameter hail 5:45 pm
Hyde Park Ulster 1.75" diameter hail and wind damage, trees down, NWS storm damage survey estimates winds up to 60 mph, with hail reported to have stripped the leaves off of many trees in the town 5:50 pm
Milan Dutchess 0.88" diameter hail 5:55 pm
Millbrook Dutchess 1.5" diameter hail 6:12 pm
Dover Plains Dutchess 1" diameter hail 6:33 pm
New Milford, CT Litchfield Wind damage, trees blown down 7:00 pm