Giant South Dakota hailstone sets US records

Thursday 05th Aug 2010 by theWeather Club

The biggest hailstone ever to come crashing down in the United States landed on a ranch in the town of Vivian in South Dakota on the night of 23rd July. The hailstone measured 20.32cm in diameter and weighed 0.87kg. The National Climate Extremes Committee, which is responsible for validating United States weather records, weighed and measured the stone found by Leslie Scott. Scott said that the ice chunk had lost about 3 inches because he was without electricity for several hours after the storm and he could not keep it cold. David Hintz of the National Weather Service office confirmed that the hailstone at one point was likely to have been much larger. "Mr Scott told me the area was littered with large hailstones and the largest had a greater diameter when he first found it," Hintz said. "He immediately stored it and several others in his freezer, but a power outage caused some melting."

As Mr Scott's statement suggested, the giant was not alone - the storm rained down a host of massive hailstones. Some punched holes into roofs that the householders could put their arms through, while others gouged holes in the ground several centimetres deep. Miraculously no one appears to have been hurt during the hailstorm. The thousands of icy missiles thundered to the ground while somehow managing to miss everyone in the area. It gives the residents of Vivian several thousand reasons to be grateful for the wide open spaces surrounding them.