“5 Most Dangerous Hailstorms in the World – Largest

Imagine a melon-sized chunk of ice falling from the sky?

In this article, we look at the largest, heaviest and deadliest hail on Earth

Hail is one of the biggest hazards with severe thunderstorms – although it is usually small and relatively harmless, it can grow to tennis ball-sized or even larger

It can cause severe damage, injuries, and in extreme cases even death


Hail or hailstones form when supercooled water droplets within a thunderstorm updraft begin to freeze on a condensation core

When they come into contact with the growing hail, they freeze on it, causing it to grow larger

The growing hail is held in the air by the updraft of the storm until it grows too large and heavy for the upwind to keep it aloft

How hail forms

The hail can make a single round within the updraft of the storm, but often it makes several rounds within the updraft

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

The most severe hail and largest hail are usually associated with supercell thunderstorms

It takes very high to extreme instability, strong wind shear, and dry mid-levels for very large hail to form

But how big and heavy can hailstones grow?

Below are some of the world’s largest, heaviest, and deadliest hail records


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

Researchers investigating the 2018 storm found that one of the hailstones had a diameter between 74 inches (188 cm) and 93 inches (236 cm) across

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

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

Based on the official reports, this so-called “giant” hail that fell in Argentina may beat the real world record, according to researchers

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the official world record for the largest hail 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 80 inches (203 cm) of hail was recorded in the severe hail produced by the Vivian, South Dakota severe supercell

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)

It produced an impact pit about 10 inches (25 cm) across the ground

Measuring the diameter and circumference of the hail!

Measuring the diameter and circumference of the hail!

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

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

A sample of giant hailstones in Tripoli, Libya

Local reports said the sudden storm resulted in severe damage to properties as many trees were downed and hailstones struck several vehicles

Here is another photo of a person holding these giant hailstones, which appear to be easily between 16 and 18 cm (6-7 inches) in diameter

The coarse nature of this stone makes it very difficult to estimate its mass or equivalent spherical diameter

Hail diameter estimate of Tripoli, Libya hail

There are other, unconfirmed reports of similar sized hail found

For example, Ponca City, Oklahoma was reportedly hit by up to 8 inch (20 cm) hail on April 17, 1935

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

14 cm hail was also reported in Stari Trg ob Kolpi, Slovenia on June 11, 2019

Giant 15 cm hail in Sânandrei, Romania

In 2020, one giant hail event was also reported in Slovenia, the city of Domzale was hit by 10+ cm hail: Destructive hail in central Slovenia, July 29 – Europe’s first 10+ cm *giant* hail event of summer 2020


Aurora, Nebraska – June 22, 2003

1875 inch (476 cm) circumferential hail was recorded on June 22, 2003 on a severe thunderstorm that struck Aurora, Nebraska, United States

The hailstone was 70 inches (178 cm) in diameter, but no weight was officially recorded as the hailstone partially broke off when it hit the roof of a house

It is noteworthy that the hail that hit Hamilton County (including Aurora) produced impact pits on the ground up to 141 inches (36 cm) across

NWS Hastings staff measuring the diameter and circumference of the Aurora, Nebraska hail

Photo: NWS Hastings


Gopalganj district, Bangladesh – April 14, 1986

The heaviest hail that has been authenticated by official authorities fell during a severe hailstorm in the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh on April 14, 1986

In Europe, the record is held by a large, 21 pound (097 kg) hailstone that fell in Strasbourg, France on August 11, 1958 – unfortunately, no dimensions were recorded


Seldon, Kansas – June 3rd, 1959

Persistent, virtually stationary hail struck Seldon, Kansas on June 3, 1959

It produced a blanket of hail up to 18 inches (45 cm) thick on an area of ​​(54 sq miles) 140 square kilometers

Aerial photo of the thick blanket of hail over Seldon, Kansas

Photo by Norton Telegram, Norton, Kansas

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

It caused 246 deaths, 1,600 cattle and sheep with hailstones as big as “goose eggs, oranges and cricket balls,” according to the World Meteorological Organization

The hailstones were reportedly as large as oranges and in some places accumulated up to 2 feet in height


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

Incredible video of the Oklahoma City Hail Storm – 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 on hail records:

Exceptionally large 20+ cm (8 inch) hailstones hit Libya’s capital – October 27, 2020

Vivian, South Dakota supercell chase report by storm chaser Mike Hollingshead – July 23, 2010

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

Report on the Aurora, Nebraska hail – June 22, 2003

Even daily storms can cause damage through lighting, flooding or wind-driven projectiles

However, when just the right set of conditions arise for raindrops to freeze in the clouds and accumulate additional layers of ice, we have something else to worry about: Hail

Hail often comes down to a manageable size, but sometimes they exceed our expectations

Let’s take a look at five of the biggest hailstorms in the world that might have you checking the skies before heading out in the next storm

Undingen Hailstone

A severe supercell formed just south of the Black Forest and made its way down near Undingen and Reutlingen, eventually dropping an impressive load of hail

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

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

The hail from this supercell, however, went above and beyond and caused millions in damage

Coffeyville Hailstone

Location: Coffeyville, Kansas

Source: coffeyvillecom

That enormous hail was estimated to have fallen from the Kansas sky at 105 mph, and is considered to be the fastest falling hail on record

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

A replica of this hail was created to provide thorough documentation of its size

Bangladesh’s Heaviest Hail

Diameter: No dimensions recorded

Habitat: April 14, 1986

Source: earthquakepredictcom

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

The 1986 hailstorm that struck Gopalganj, Bangladesh left a trail of tragedy as it claimed 92 lives and caused extensive property damage

Those fatal bullets were estimated to have fallen at over 99 mph, and documented to be the heaviest to have fallen in Bangladesh

No dimensions have been recorded for this massive hailstone, so we don’t know its diameter or circumference to compare with those of other record holders

Aurora Hail

Location: Aurora, Nebraska

Habitat: June 22, 2003

Source: weathergov

The supercell storms that loomed over Deshler, Nebraska in 2003 caused much damage to the buildings and landscape of the area with everything from flooding to tornadoes

As if these threats were not enough, massive hailstones also started falling from the sky

Among the cold bullets turned out to be a massive specimen that landed in Aurora and surpassed the Coffeyville hail as the largest known specimen at the time

Aric and Tamara Brophy discovered this hail after it hit the gutter on their home

This prize hail 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 Vivian, South Dakota hail is the largest hail in the world

The storm that introduced this record sample was reported to have damaged 55 homes

They immediately gave the title of the largest officially recorded hail, knocking down the previous record holder from Aurora to second place

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

It had melted a bit by the time he got it to his freezer, shrinking in size

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