5 Heaviest Hailstones on Record

Imagine a piece of ice the size of a melon falling from the sky?

In this article, we take a look at the largest, strongest and deadliest hail on Earth

Hail is one of the biggest hazards in severe thunderstorms – while it’s usually small and relatively harmless, it can grow to the size of a tennis ball or even larger

It can cause serious harm, injury and in extreme cases even death


Hail or hailstones form when supercooled water droplets in a storm current begin to freeze on a condensation nucleus

When they come into contact with growing hail, they freeze onto it, making it bigger

The growing hailstone keeps the storm surge in the air until it becomes too big and too large to be contained by the upward wind

How hail is formed

Grain hail can make a single circle in the storm’s updraft, but often makes multiple circles within the updraft

The largest hailstones sometimes even form long ice horns or spikes!

The most severe hailstorms and largest hail are usually associated with supercell storms

Very high to extreme instability, strong wind shear, and dry midlevels are required for very large hail to form

But how big and heavy can hail get?

Below are some records for the largest, strongest and deadliest hail storms around the world


On February 8, 2018, huge chunks of ice fell from the sky in Villa Carlos Paz, a resort town west of Córdoba, Argentina

Researchers studying the 2018 storm found that one of the hailstones was between 74 inches (188 cm) and 93 inches (236 cm) in diameter

This diameter may approach or even exceed the official world record for largest hail – recorded in Vivian, South Dakota (see below)

The hailstones were so large that scientists proposed a new category to describe them – giant hail

According to official reports, this so-called “huge” hail that fell in Argentina could break the actual world record, according to researchers

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the official world record for the largest hailstone belongs to an 8-inch (203 cm) hailstone that fell near Vivian, South Dakota, USA in 2010

Vivian, South Dakota – July 23, 2010

On July 23, 2010, hail of 80 inches (203 cm) was recorded in a severe hailstorm produced by a strong supercell Vivian in South Dakota

The hail was found by Mr Lee Scott and it was the size of a volleyball!

The hail had a circumference of 18625 inches (473 cm) and a weight of 19375 pounds (088 kg)

An impact pit about 10 inches (25 cm) in size was formed on the floor

Measuring the diameter and volume of hailstones!

Measuring the diameter and volume of hailstones!

The capital of Libya, Tripoli, was hit by a severe supercell storm on October 27, 2020

The storm produced extremely large, *giant* hail, with an estimated diameter of 17-18 cm (65-7 inches)

A pattern of giant hailstones in Tripoli, Libya

Local reports said the sudden storm caused serious property damage, with many trees downed and several vehicles hit by hail

Here is another photo of a person holding this giant hailstone that appears to be between 16 and 18 cm (6-7 inches) in diameter

Due to the robust nature of this stone, it is very difficult to estimate its mass or equivalent spherical diameter

Hail diameter estimation in Tripoli, Libya

There are other, unconfirmed reports of hail of a similar size

For example, Ponca City, Oklahoma was reported to be hit by up to 8 inches (20 cm) of hail on April 17, 1935

In Europe, the largest reported diameters of hailstones in recent years are 15 cm on 20 June 2016 in Sânandrei, western Romania, and 141 cm on 6 August 2013 in Undingen, southwestern Germany

On June 11, 2019, 14 cm hail was also recorded in Stari Trg ob Kolpa in Slovenia

Huge 15cm hail in Sânandrei, Romania

In 2020, we also report one giant hail in Slovenia, the town of Domžale was hit by 10+ cm hail: Devastating hail in central Slovenia, July 29 – the first 10+ cm *big* hail in Europe in the summer of 2020


Aurora, Nebraska – June 22, 2003

Hail measuring 1875 inches (476 cm) was recorded on June 22, 2003 in a severe thunderstorm that hit Aurora, Nebraska, United States

The hail was 70 inches (178 cm) in diameter, but the weight was not officially recorded as the hail partially broke off when it hit the roof of the house

Notably, the hail that hit Hamilton County (including Aurora) produced impact pits on the ground up to 141 inches (36 cm) in diameter

NWS Hastings personnel measure the diameter and extent of hailstones in Aurora, Nebraska

Photo: NWS Hastings


Gopalganj District, Bangladesh – 14 April 1986

The heaviest hailstone officially confirmed occurred during a severe thunderstorm in the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh on April 14, 1986

In Europe, the record for large hail is 21 pounds (097 kg), which fell in Strasbourg, France on August 11, 1958 – unfortunately no dimensions were recorded


Seldon, Kansas – June 3, 1959

A persistent, near-stationary hail storm hit Seldon, Kansas on June 3, 1959

It produces a blanket of hail up to 18 inches (45 cm) thick over an area (54 square miles) of 140 square kilometers

Aerial view of a thick blanket of hail over Seldon, Kansas

Photo by Norton Telegram, Norton, Kansas

On April 30, 1888, the deadliest hailstorm in modern history struck Moradabad and Beheri districts in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India

According to the World Meteorological Organization, it caused 246 deaths, 1,600 cattle and sheep with hail the size of “goose eggs, oranges and cricket balls”

The hail was said to be the size of oranges and piled up to 2 meters high in some places


Huge Hail the size of Baseballs – Cardston, Alberta – July 26, 2012

Amazing Video of the Oklahoma City Hailstorm – May 16, 2010

8 inch hail in Vivian, South Dakota – July 23, 2010

Mega Hail in SE Stephenville, Texas – April 26, 2015

Check out some more interesting articles about hail:

Extremely large 20+ cm (8 inch) hail hits Libya’s capital – October 27, 2020

Vivian, South Dakota Supercell Hunting Report by Storm Chaser Mike Hollingshead – July 23, 2010

Record Hail in Vivian, South Dakota – July 23, 2010

Aurora, Nebraska Hailstorm Report – June 22, 2003

Even everyday thunderstorms can cause damage through lighting, flooding, or wind-driven projectiles

But when the conditions are just right for raindrops to freeze in the clouds and accumulate additional layers of ice, we have something else to worry about: hail

Hailstones often fall in manageable sizes, but sometimes exceed our expectations

Let’s take a look at five of the world’s largest hailstones, which might make you want to check the sky before heading into your next storm

Undingen Hail

A severe supercell formed south of the Black Forest and descended near Undingen and Reutlingen, finally dropping an impressive amount of hailstones

Many of these stones challenged tennis balls and oranges in size, especially the new German record holder

It’s no secret that hailstones can cause a lot of damage to buildings, cars, and other property

The hail from this supercell, however, exceeded and caused millions of dollars worth of damage

Coffeyville Hailstone

Location: Coffeyville, Kansas

Source: coffeeyvillecom

This gigantic hailstone was estimated to be falling from the sky in Kansas at 105 mph and is considered the fastest falling hailstone on record

Hail sighting is something of a hobby on the Great Plains, with enthusiasts waiting for the storm to end to immediately start looking for other impressive hailstones that might have a chance to break current records

A replica of this hailstone was constructed to provide thorough documentation of its size

The strongest hail in Bangladesh

Diameter: Dimensions not recorded

Habitat: April 14, 1986

Source: earthquakepredictcom

While two-pound hail certainly sounds fascinating, it’s important to remember how dangerous falling icicles can be

The 1986 hailstorm that hit Gopalganj in Bangladesh left a trail of tragedy, claiming 92 lives and causing extensive property damage

These deadly missiles are estimated to have fallen at speeds of over 99 mph and documented as the heaviest to land in Bangladesh

The dimensions of this massive hailstone have not been recorded, so we do not know its diameter or extent to compare with those of other record holders

Aurora Hailstone

Location: Aurora, Nebraska

Habitat: June 22, 2003

Source: weathergov

The supercell storms that hit Deshler, Nebraska in 2003 caused extensive damage to the area’s buildings and landscape, from flooding to tornadoes

As if these threats were not enough, a huge hailstone also started falling from the sky

Among the cold projectiles, it turned out to be a huge specimen that landed in Aurora, surpassing the Coffeyville hailstone as the largest known specimen at the time

Aric and Tamara Brophy discovered this hailstone after it hit the gutter of their home

This prize hailstone was not measured and documented until four days later

Vivian Hailstone

Diameter: 8 inches

Diameter: 8 inches

Diameter: 8 inches

Diameter: 8 inches

Location: Vivian, South Dakota

Habitat: July 23, 2010

The hail in Vivian, South Dakota is the largest hail in the world

The storm that produced this record-breaking event was reported to have damaged 55 homes

They immediately awarded the title of the largest officially recorded hail, pushing the former record holder from Aurora into second place

Mr Lee Scott reported that this huge hailstone was close to 10-11 inches when he found it

When he brought it to the freezer, it melted a bit and shrunk

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