A huge hailstone that fell during an April thunderstorm is officially the largest in Texas history, officials say.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that a 1.26-pound hailstone retrieved April 28 near Hondo, west of San Antonio, is the biggest recorded in the state.
It measured 19.7 inches in circumference and 6.4 inches in diameter with a volume of 40.2 cubic inches. In comparison, a softball has a 12-inch circumference and is 3.82 inches in diameter.
The storm that whipped up this beastly hailstone began as two supercells that converged as they pushed through the area and produced a tornado, weather officials say. The storm caused serious damage along U.S. Highway 90.
The first “gargantuan” hailstone
The first “gargantuan” hailstone reported to the National Weather Service and local media dropped south of the highway. But experts never got a chance to officially measure this hailstone because it was “ultimately used for margaritas,” a NOAA report says.
Analyzing a photo of the hailstone from before it was consumed, Penn State University meteorology professor Matt Kumjian used “photogrammetry” to estimate the diameter was between 6.27 and 6.57 inches.
Estimated max. dimension of this #gargantuan stone, accounting for perspective: 6.27-6.57 inches! It’s gargantuan (>6″)! Happy for colleagues to attempt/improve: @Albatrossoar @joshuasoderholm @igiammanco33 .@NWSSanAntonio #Hondo, TX beneath BWER, extremely low CC aloft. #hail pic.twitter.com/pRC2Y7c1Ft
— PSURadarMeteorology (@PSU_RadarMeteo) April 30, 2021
If the stone was on higher end of this range, it would’ve been larger in diameter than the record-holder.
Nevertheless, we’ll never know.
The National Weather Service Austin-San Antonio and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety sent employees to the home of the person who found the record-breaking hailstone, where it had been stored in a freezer.
Hondo, Texas now tops the IBHS list of largest hailstone scanned. @rossmanbrm12 scanned the hailstone that fell last Wednesday at 6.4″ in diameter. Now, a committee will review to determine where this hailstone stacks up in state history.
— IBHS (@disastersafety) May 7, 2021
There, the experts “conducted a formal weighing, calipers measurement, 3D analysis, and visual examination of the hailstone.”
Until now, Texas didn’t have an official hail record. But the largest reported hailstones in the state by diameter are the following:
• 8 inches, Washington County in December 1892
• 7-8 inches, Winkler County in May 1960
• 6 inches, Moore County in June 2010
• 6 inches, Ward County in May 1991
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