Hailstones around the world: the biggest, heaviest, and

In this article, we take a look at the largest, heaviest, and deadliest records in the world

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


Hail or hailstone forms as cold water in the thunderstorm updraft begins to freeze to a condensation nucleus

When they come in contact with the growing hailstone, they freeze it, causing it to grow

A growing hailstone is kept in the air by the storm’s updraft until it grows and becomes too heavy for the upward wind to blow it aloft

How does it form?

The hailstone can make a circle in the modification of the storm, but usually it makes several circles in the updraft

The largest hailstones sometimes even form ice horns or spikes!

The heaviest hailstorms and largest hail are often associated with supercell thunderstorms

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

But just how big and heavy can grow hailstones?

Below is some information for the largest, heaviest, and deadliest hurricanes around the world


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

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

This diameter can reach or exceed the world record for the largest hail – recorded in Vivian, South Dakota (see below)

The hailstones are so large that scientists have introduced a new category to describe them – the giant hailstone

According to reports, this so-called ‘gargantuan’ hailstone that fell in Argentina could hold a real world record, according to scientists

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

Vivian, South Dakota – July 23, 2010

On July 23rd, 2010 an 80 inch (203 cm) hailstone was recorded in the large hailstorm produced by the Vivian, South Dakota supercell

The hailstone was discovered by Mr Lee Scott, and he has a big basketball!

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

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

Measure the diameter and circumference of the hailstone!

Measure the diameter and circumference of the hailstone!

The city of Libya, Tripoli was hit by a heavy storm on October 27, 2020

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

Examples of giant hailstones in Tripoli, Libya

Reports in the area said that the sudden storm caused a lot of damage to property as many trees were downed and hailstones hit many vehicles

Here is another picture of a person holding giant hailstones that seem to be easily between 16 and 18 cm (6-7 inches) in diameter

Hailstorm line forecast of Tripoli, Libya hailstone

There are other, unconfirmed reports of similar sightings

For example, Ponca City, Oklahoma was reported to have been hit by 8 inch (20 cm) hailstones on April 17th, 1935

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

14 cm hailstones were also reported in Stari Trg ob Kolpi, Slovenia on June 11, 2019

Giant 15 cm hail in Sânandrei, Romania

In 2020, a very large event was reported in Slovenia, the town of Domzale was hit by 10+ cm hailstones: Destructive hailstorm in central Slovenia, July 29th – the first 10+ cm * size * Hail occurs in Europe in the summer of 2020


Aurora, Nebraska – June 22, 2003

An 1875 inch (476 cm) round hailstone was recorded on June 22nd, 2003 during a severe tornado that hit Aurora, Nebraska, United States

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

It is important, that the hail that hit Hamilton County (including Aurora) caused impact on the ground up to 141 inches (36 cm) across

NWS Hastings personnel measure the diameter and circumference of the Aurora, Nebraska hailstone

Photo: NWS Hastings


The heaviest hailstone recognized by the authorities fell during a huge storm in 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 length was recorded


Seldon, Kansas – June 3rd, 1959

A persistent, seemingly stationary hailstorm hit Seldon, Kansas on June 3, 1959

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

Aerial view of thick blanket of hail over Seldon, Kansas

Photo by Norton Telegram, Norton, Kansas


On April 30, 1888 the worst storm in modern history hit Moradabad and Beheri districts, Uttar Pradesh state, India

It killed 246 people, 1600 cows and sheep with hailstones as big as “goose eggs, oranges, and cricket balls”, according to the World Meteorological Organization


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

Great video of the Oklahoma City Hail Storm – May 16, 2010

8-inch hailstones in Vivian, South Dakota – July 23rd, 2010

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

Check out some more interesting articles on hail data:

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

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

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

Reporting on the Aurora, Nebraska hailstorm – June 22nd, 2003

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