You wouldn't want this to land on your head. Image Credit: Victoria Druetta
Deluges of hailstones up to 9.3 inches in size have necessitated a whole new category designation.
Regular hailstones may not be too much of a problem, but when chunks of ice the size of footballs start raining from the sky, they can be not only destructive, but also potentially life-threatening.
One such deluge occurred in Argentina back in 2018 when a supercell thunderstorm saw the center of Villa Carlos Paz - a town of 56,000 people - hit with hailstones of mammoth proportions.
The event was well documented thanks to countless mobile phone videos and the first-hand accounts of residents who happened to have witnessed it
Now researchers who have been investigating the Villa Carlos Paz event have revealed that the largest individual hailstone recorded was between 7.4 and 9.3 inches across.
"Anything larger than about a quarter in size can start putting dents into your car," said Prof Matthew Kumjian from the Department of Meteorology and Atmosphere Science at Penn State.
"In some rare cases, 6-inch hail has actually gone through roofs and multiple floors in houses. We'd like to help mitigate the impacts on life and property, to help anticipate these kinds of events."
In addition to working on ways to better predict such hailstorms, the researchers have moved to formally categorize anything over 6 inches in size as 'gargantuan' hail.
Investigating cases of giant hailstones worldwide is also a key part of the team's research.
"There typically isn't a lot of data from storms outside the US," said study co-author Rachel Gutierrez. "Having this shows us these crazy, high-impact events can happen all over the world."
Source: Phys.org | Comments (6)