Tonight's graduation ceremony at Absegami High School in Galloway Township was rushed to a speedy conclusion when a band of storms brought thunder and lightning to the area, and rain and hail pouring down on the large crowd.

One eyewitness told me it... was one of the craziest  scenes he has ever witnessed, with marble-size hail hitting graduates and turning their faces red as as they ran from the football field for the cover of the school.

As you can see in a picture forwarded on to me on Facebook, an apparent funnel cloud formed within close proximity to the open-air ceremony.

Within a matter of seconds of the final student receiving his diploma, the storm reached its fury and sent graduates and their families and guests scattering for safety and cover.  Police ordered the crowd to empty the aluminum bleachers as lightning strikes filled the air.

This would seem like  the kind of close-call that would cause a review of school procedures concerning approaching storms in the future.  For everyone in attendance, it  sounds like it will certainly  be one graduation ceremony they'll remember for a long time.

If you attended tonight;s graduation, leave your story about the storms in the comments section below.

Here is an incredible picture taken by my friend Pete Pollino of some of the hail that fell at tonight's Absegami High School Graduation.