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That’s a big chunk of ice! South Dakota hailstone sets world records

Saturday, July 31st, 2010 3:34am MST
A massive hailstone with a diameter of 8 inches will likely set the record as the largest hailstone in terms of diameter and weight. (NWS)

A massive hailstone that fell in South Dakota on July 23rd set world records for diameter and weight. (NWS)

The massive hailstone that fell over rural South Dakota last week has officially set world records for its weight and diameter. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the chunk of ice easily eclipsed the previous record setter.

On Friday, July 23rd, severe weather rolled through northeastern South Dakota and Stanley, Jones, and Lyman counties. With it was massive hail so big it left holes in the ground the size of coffee cans. Les Scott, a ranch hand, recovered the now record setting stone afterwards.

NOAA’s National Climate Extremes Committee determined that the huge chunk of ice from the sky officially measured 8.0 inches in diameter and weighed 1.9375 pounds (1 pound, 15 ounces) setting records for both. It also measured 18.62 inches in circumference falling just short of breaking the record for that measurement.

The previous record holding hailstone in terms of weight fell on September 3, 1970 in Coffeyville, Kansas and weighed 1.67 pounds.

The stone that previously held the record for diameter measured 7 inches and fell in Aurora, Nebraska on June 22, 2003. That stone still holds the record for circumference having measured 18.75 inches.

While Scott froze it immediately, David Hintz, a meteorologist at NOAA’s Aberdeen weather forecast office, said in a statement some melting had probably occurred resulting in the official measurements being smaller than what the stone was when it first fell.

“Mr. Scott told me the area was littered with large hailstones and the largest had a greater diameter when he first found it. He immediately stored it and several others in his freezer, but a power outage caused some melting,” Hintz said.

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