Some Facts About Hail From the National Weather Service

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:


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

Clever Ways to Protect Your Vehicle From Hail


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.


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

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