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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

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