3 August 2010

Vivian, South Dakota Hailtone breaks U.S. Record!

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Duck and cover! The new U.S. Record hailstone. Image from the NWS Aberdeen SD/NOAA.

If you are a weather nut there are certain records that you know off the top of your head. No need to look them up. So I knew the record books listed the largest hailstone ever measured as the one from Coffeyville, Kansas that fell in 1970. That stone weighed in at a whopping 757 grams  (That’s 1.67 pounds for you metrically challenged folks).

Nancy Knight (Top expert on hailstones) of the National Centers For Atmospheric Research holds the previous record holder, the Coffeyville KS hailstone. Diameter 14.4 cm.

Then came the severe thunderstorm that hit Vivian, South Dakota on 23 July, 2010. Les Scott saw his yard covered with HUGE hailstones and saved the biggest he could find. A power outage caused it to melt a bit but he thought it might be a good idea to let the local NWS office know about it.

They of course were very interested and came out and measured and weighed it. The Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Aberdeen, SD  NWS then contacted the NOAA Climate Extremes Committee. They have declared that the long standing Coffeyville Kansas ice chunk from the sky is no longer number one!

The official weight of the Vivian hailstone was recorded at 879 grams or 1.93 pounds! That’s a new record! The stone also broke the record diameter of a hailstone. The previous record was 7 inches from a stone that fell in Aurora, Nebraska in 2003.