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Understanding Hail Size

Pea size, baseball size, even grapefruit size?

There are many everyday items that we can use to determine the best estimate of a hail stone.

Courtesy: NOAA/National Weather Service

Pea size hail is ¼” in diameter and hail at ¾” is the width of a penny.

When hail is 1″ in diameter, that’s the same size as a quarter and also when hail size is considered “severe” (or large enough to potentially cause damage).

Some of the most destructive hail that falls measures at least 2″ in diameter!

Tennis ball size is 2 ½”, baseball size measures 2.75″, tea cup size is 3″, and softball size measures 4″ in diameter.

Did you know hail can be even larger than that?

The biggest hailstone ever recorded was near Vivian, South Dakota in 2010, coming in at 8” in diameter!

Just remember — before you go outside to measure the size of hail that fell in your backyard, wait until the storm has moved far enough away so you can safely make your observation.

For WeatherNation, I’m Meteorologist Meredith Garofalo

About the author
Meredith is a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist as designated by the American Meteorological Society.  She was born and raised in Cleveland but has worked from coast to coast covering almost every type of weather.  She's been live out in the field during destructive tropical storms on the Gulf Coast of Florida, raging wildfires in Southern California, and covered the wreckage from tornadoes in t... Load Morehe Great Plains. In 2009, she reported on the damaging hail storm during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and in 2017, the historic California winter storms that produced record rain totals and devastating flash flooding.  Prior to joining WeatherNation, Meredith worked at KEYT/KKFX in Santa Barbara, CA, KOTA-TV in Rapid City, SD, WWSB-TV in Sarasota, FL, and began her career as an intern at WGN-TV in Chicago.  She was Santa Barbara's "Favorite Weathercaster of the Year" in 2016 and the Community Partner of the Year in 2017 for her volunteer work with Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties and awarded with the 2018 Valparaiso University Alumni Association First Decade Achievement Award. Meredith co-chairs the American Meteorological Society Station Scientist Committee, which focuses on raising greater awareness & outreach when it comes to science education for viewers.  She's also an accomplished reporter, producing weather and science stories including rocket launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the new GOES-16 satellite and it's impacts on weather forecasting.  Meredith's also worked on features that took her paragliding along the coast, white water rafting in Northern California, learning to surf in the Pacific Ocean, and how to be an aerial photographer while flying a single engine plane!

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