Some facts about hail from the National Weather Service

AP News
Posted: Apr 26, 2016 11:02 PM
Some facts about hail from the National Weather Service

Hail as big as grapefruits damaged roofs and broke car windows in the northeast Kansas community of Bremen on Tuesday. Smaller-sized hail was reported in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio and Texas. Large hail can cause heavy damage to crops and other property. Here are some hail facts, according to the National Weather Service:


Inside thunderstorms are warm updrafts and cold downdrafts. When a water drop is lifted, it can carry to temperatures below 32 degrees, freeze and then fall. As it falls it can thaw as it moves into warmer air, where it can get picked up again by another updraft, returning it to cold air where it refreezes. With each trip above and below freezing, it adds a layer of ice before it ultimately falls to earth as hail.

HAIL SIZES (diameter)

Pea: ¼ inch

Marble: ½ inch

Penny: ¾ inch

Nickel: 7/8 inch

Quarter: 1 inch (hail at least quarter size is considered severe)

Pingpong ball: 1½ inch

Golf ball: 1¾ inch

Tennis ball: 2½ inches

Baseball: 2¾ inches

Grapefruit: 4 inches

Softball: 4½ inches


The largest recorded hailstone in the U.S. was nearly as big as a volleyball and fell on July 23, 2010, in Vivian, South Dakota. It was 8 inches in diameter and weighed almost 2 pounds.

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Hail causes about $1 billion damage to crops and property annually. A hailstorm that hit Kansas City on April 10, 2001, was the costliest ever in the U.S., causing about $2 billion damage.




This story has been corrected to say that hail must be at least as big as a quarter to be considered severe according to the National Weather Service.