Some Facts About Hail From the National Weather Service | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Some Facts About Hail From the National Weather Service

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The National Weather Service was warning of the possibility of hail as big as grapefruits in some areas on Tuesday amid storms in parts of the central and eastern U.S. Some smaller hail -- the size of quarters or smaller -- had been reported in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio and Texas as of Tuesday afternoon. Large hail can cause heavy damage to crops and other property. Here are some hail facts, according to the National Weather Service:

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    HOW IT FORMS

    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: 1/4 inch

    Marble: 1/2 inch

    Penny: 3/4 inch (hail at least penny size is considered severe)

    Nickel: 7/8 inch

    Quarter: 1 inch

    Pingpong ball: 1 1/2 inch

    Golf ball: 1 3/4 inch

    Tennis ball: 2 1/2 inches

    Baseball: 2 3/4 inches

    Grapefruit: 4 inches

    Softball: 4 1/2 inches

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    BIGGEST EVER

    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.

    DAMAGE DONE

    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.

    More: NWS Hail Awareness