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Record-breaking hail described as 'gargantuan'

By T.K. Randall
April 30, 2020 · Comment icon 6 comments

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: | Comments (6)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Iilaa'mpuul'xem 3 years ago
I bet they leave a mark... 
Comment icon #2 Posted by freetoroam 3 years ago
Many years ago a friend had gone caravaning in Spain. When he got back and I asked him how it went, he said go have a look at the camper. It was dented all down the side on on the roof as if it had been stoned. They got caught in a really bad hail storm in Spain.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jon the frog 3 years ago
They lost livestock in Spain not long ago because of hail storms. These thing can hurt pretty bad !
Comment icon #4 Posted by DirtyDocMartens 3 years ago
I was in a tornado in Dallas with hail that blew out the windows of our car and actually dented the frame above the door. We weren?t sure we were going to make it!
Comment icon #5 Posted by Hankenhunter 3 years ago
My dad rescued a biker in Calgary caught in a big hail storm. Poor b***** was huddled on the side of the highway. We opened the van side door and practically yanked him in the van. His leathers helped a bit, but he was pretty bruised up. We ended up putting his ride in the van and took him to the hospital. Pretty well everyone on that stretch of highway had to get new windshields. I was pretty young back then and remember the deafening sound of the hail hitting our uninsulated van roof. Now I know what a drum must feel like. Lol
Comment icon #6 Posted by tmcom 3 years ago
There was another recorded by a monk in the dark ages, who described cannon ball sized ones, destroying everything in its path, as well as a few people. In England.

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