Hail The Largest Hail

(That's not even funny, but it's the best I could come up with)

(Baseball sized hail, pictured above, is big...but not the biggest!)

Hey Steve,

Me and the guys at work were wondering what was the largest hailstone ever recorded worldwide? We found out that the largest one in the US was in Coffeyville KS. in 1970 at 17.5 inches and 1.67 lbs.

Is this the World Record or not and if not do you know what the World Record is?

James Cunningham
Seimens VDO Automotive


Hey Jim,

That WAS the largest hailstone recorded in the United States. Actually that 17.5 inch measurement is the circumference and it weighed about 1.67 pounds. I can't find a diameter, but assuming it was a perfect circle (and it likely was not) it was around 5.5" in diameter. That's huge! It was probably about the size of a cantaloupe. Also, that monstrous hailstone has an estimated impact speed of about 100 mph!!!!

And believe it or not, that hailstone was bested by one that fell more recently.

On Sunday night June 22nd 2003, a supercell thunderstorm over the town of Aurora, Nebraska produced a 7" diameter piece of hail. The Brophy family of Aurora, Nebraska reported the large chunk of hail which is now considered the largest single hailstone ever recorded in the United States. The hailstone was 7" in diameter, 18.75" in Circumference and weighed in at just under 1 pound. Imagine a large cantaloupe falling from the sky at nearly 100 MPH. Isn't weather Awesome!

The Aurora, Nebraska hailstone at 7" in diameter is the "largest" in the United States (possibly the world), while the coffeyville, Kansas hailstone at 1.67 lbs. is the heaviest in the United States.

From what I've found, the heaviest hailstone ever documented from across the globe weighed in at about 2.2 pounds. In fact, multiple hailstones this size fell over a part of Bangladesh, India on April, 14th 1986. The hail storm reportedly killed over 90 people. (http://www.geocities.com/pleiades61/hailstones.html)

You have to remember that someone actually picked up the Kansas and Nebraska hailstone, put it in a freezer, and eventually had it measured and documented. How often does that happen across the world? After all, not everyone has a freezer. So, it's possible that a larger or heavier hailstone has fallen, but it's never been seen or documented.

So, many large hailstones have likely gone undocumented. Who knows how big hailstones were when the Native Americans roamed North America or when a storm was over unpopulated land and melted before anyone saw it's giganticness (not a real word).

If you aren't impressed by the picture below of some large hail, just remember that this hard object is falling at a speed faster than my first car could go (1984 Pontiac 6000 STE, affectionately termed by others as "The Temps Mobile"). That's right, my car started shaking at 84 mph...and just couldn't do much better.

This softball sized hail has smaller hailstones attached to it. Softball sized hail is about 4.5" in diameter...ouch!!

Remember, if you are in a hail storm in your car...stay in your car. Park under a tree or some sort of protection and wait it out.


Did You Know

Terms Like Baseball size, golf ball size etc...are all official terms associated with hail size. It's not some arbitrary size, but actually a standard used by all meteorologists in the US.



If you have a question...email me at Heysteve@weathersavvy.com


Pictures courtesy of NOAA photo library