First Alert Weather In-Depth: Large Hailstones

ROCHESTER, N.Y. It is time for weather trivia today. And we are looking at the size of a hailstones. What is the largest ever recorded?  There are a bunch of answers and we are being a little facetious. But the answers are big enough to run. Big enough to hurt and big enough to do some major damage. All are correct, but of course the real answer is the size of a grapefruit. 

The record goes back to 2010 in North Dakota. The diameter on this huge hail stone was 8 inches and a weighed almost 2 pounds. If you sliced this stone in half it would look like the layers of an onion. So how do you get something this large coming out of a thunderstorm cloud? The answer is that cumulonimbus clouds in the Midwest can rise to 60 to 70,000 feet. This means the storm is very intense and it also means it has a very significant updraft. The updraft is so intense that the hailstone has much more time to grow in size. Eventually the stone gets heavy enough that will fall to the surface of the earth.

Fortunately, we here in Western New York do not see anything near that size in hail. Usually we see is pea size or penny size hail. Anything larger is considered to be in the severe category for hail intensity. And it is rare to see anything larger near Western New York.  If you see something this size coming your way it is probably a good idea to get on the football helmet!