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Find Your Storm Date - Hail History Reports

Hail history reports give you insight into when storm damage occurs.

This storm data is then used to create an advanced, coordinate based report using geospatial analysis. This process gives you detailed information about any storm with a high probability of producing half inch hail or greater near your chosen location.

When you need the latest storm damage information for a specific property, our Hail History Reports will provide precise insight into what storm may have caused potential property damage.

More Than Just Radar Based Activity

Our reports feature detailed radar data around any address. It also includes every official nearby hail and wind event reported to NOAA by live storm spotters.

NOTE: Does NOT include wind gust data.

All hail reports nearby are included in your report.

Address Specific Storm Reporting

Hail History Reports are unique because they are custom generated based on address information input by individual users. Each report centers on the chosen location, and provides hail activity within a 1-3 mile radius. This data, including live storm spotter reports, is then compiled into a printable PDF that presents a range of possible hail sizes by date.

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Sometimes it isn't easy to remember when that storm occured. Back up your claim by finding the storm that likely caused your damage.

For Consumers

Anyone who has suffered home or automobile damage due to hail knows it is always best to back up your claim with solid information. The insurance company will want to know what the storm date was that created the damage. Being able to give them exact details will help you get your claim approved faster.


Some insurance companies will only pay for hail damage if there was a report of hail on the same day you claim it happened.

Many consumers have called in a hail claim from a brief storm only to be treated like a con artist because there were no reports of hail nearby. It doesn't matter how many pictures you have of golf ball size hail on your deck or bouncing off of your car, if there were no reports of hail to NOAA in your neighborhood on the date of your claim, you could be met with suspicion by your insurance company.

Show them the proof they need with our address specific hail reports.

Insurance companies use out reports to find the exact date of loss for a storm damage claim.

Adjusters and insurance companies can benefit from our address specific hail history reports in order to determine an appropriate date of loss for property damage claims.

For Insurers

Insurance companies are consistantly seeing more and more claims for hail damage each year. Although many calls are for legitimate damage created by a recent storm, sometimes you get some claims from areas where there were no reports of hail.

Many contractors have access to data from much older hail storms and actively work in these areas, encouraging homeowners with older 3-tab roofs to file claims.

Our Hail History Reports will reveal every time a storm with a potential for damaging hail has ventured near the property in question. Using our data, you will be able to pinpoint the date that the loss occured, whether from wind or hail.


Contractors sometimes need extra information about storm history to get a claim paid for.

Want to know the information that the claim adjuster will be using to determine whether or not to pay out on a claim? Our reports give you the edge.

For Contractors

When you specialize in insurance restoration, you quickly learn that knowing when and where hail may have occured could make the difference between making a sale and doing a lot of free legwork. Once you find the hail damage, you may need additional documentation to prove to an insurance company that it actually happened.

Some insurance companies are now using similar reports to verify hail in an area.

Our Hail History Reports will help you prove to the most skeptical adjuster that damaging hail did in fact occur, even if there were no live storm spotter reports of hail in the area. Each customized report will be compiled with your company name at the very top, and will show you every storm date you need to provide proof of damage.

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All reports are for informational purposes. The data derived from these reports only indicate the potential size of hail near an address, as indicated by weather radar. Live storm spotter verification during the storm is the most accurate way of determining hail size, and the amount that might have fallen.

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U.S. Hailstone and Hailstorm Records

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Above: Hail can accumulate to remarkable depths when a storm becomes stationary over one place for a period of time. The hail in this photograph, however, drifted this deep after floodwaters washed it into these giant heaps in a low-lying area. (Michael Mee, FEMA)

Recently, an investigation into a hailstorm that took place in Villa Carlos Paz, Cordoba Province, Argentina on February 8, 2018, reported that a hailstone some 9.3 inches in diameter may have fallen during a storm there. The Weather Channel’s Chris Dolce has a summary of the event , which has been documented in a February paper for the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society entitled “ Gargantuan Hail in Argentina .” The authors propose that hailstones larger than 6” in diameter be classified as “gargantuan”.

If verified, the Argentine hailstone would surpass the U.S. record holder, an 8-inch-diameter stone collected near Vivian, South Dakota on July 23, 2010. (That hailstone was said to have actually been 11” in diameter before a portion of it melted prior to being officially measured.) However, the Argentine hailstone will likely never become an official record, since its size was estimated only from video evidence and not from any first-hand measurements.

On Friday night, May 22, 2020, a hailstone of 5.33” diameter was reported in Burkburnett, Texas (the same hailstone shown in this Facebook post ). With peak U.S. hail season at hand, here is a recap (portions of which appeared in a blog entry I posted in April 2018) of the costliest and deadliest hailstorms in U.S. history, along with a summary of the largest hailstones yet observed in the United States.

U.S. hailstorm climatology

Hailstorms in the U.S. normally occur during the months of May to August as opposed to tornado frequency peaking in April and May. Snowden D. Flora, in his classic book Hailstones of the United States (1956), analyzed hailstorm events for the period 1944-1953 and found that 20.0% of all hailstorms in the U.S. took place in May, 24.9% in June, 21.9% in July, and 18.0% in August (in other words, 85% during this four-month time period). This finding holds up well next to a radar-based climatology for 2007-2010 published in the journal Weather and Forecasting, which found that “June is clearly the leading month for severe hail.” (See a summary of the article.)

The portions of the country that are most likely to experience hailstorms (especially those that produce very large hail) are somewhat similar to the areas most affected by tornadoes.

The National Weather Service (NWS) uses a variety of analog objects to describe the various sizes of hailstones reported to their offices. See below:

Costliest U.S. hailstorms

It is now estimated that in the U.S. hailstorms cause an average of $15 billion in damage to homes, cars, and crops each year. This total has greatly increased in recent decades: the estimate for the 1990s was $1.2 billion per year, and that itself was an increase over prior decades. Some factors behind the rapid increase include population growth in hail-prone areas such as Denver and Dallas–Fort Worth and the larger size of many newer homes. The costliest year to date was 2017, when insurers reported $22 billion in hail damage.

A handful of hailstorm events in the recent past have resulted in $1 billion or more in damages (2020 USD). Phoenix experienced the single most damaging hailstorm in U.S. history on October 5, 2010, with a tab of $3.2 billion (adjusted to 2018 dollars). “Some homeowners had to wait more than a year before a licensed contractor was available to repair their roofs,” said meteorologist and operations analyst Bryan Wood (Assurant) in a Capital Weather Gang essay .

Another extremely costly storm was that of April 10, 2001, which cut a swath along the I-70 corridor from eastern Kansas to southwestern Illinois and pounded the St. Louis area. Property damage was in excess of $2.5 billion in 2020 dollars.

The St. Louis area was once again pounded by a series of hailstorms on April 26, 2012, causing $1.6 billion in property damage. The so-called Mayfest Hailstorm that pummeled Tarrant and Dallas Counties (Dallas–Fort Worth) in Texas on May 5, 1995, caused an estimated $2 billion in damage (USD 2020). The same area was hit again by a destructive hailstorm on March 23, 2016, resulting in $2.2 billion in damage. Again, also in Texas, a hailstorm hit San Antonio on April 16, 2016, resulting in $1.4 billion in damage, with hailstones the size of grapefruits.

Other $1 billion+ hailstorms include three events that pummeled the Front Range of Colorado. One event occurred between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins on July 11, 1990, causing $1.6 billion damage (USD 2020). Another affected the Denver metropolitan area on May 8, 2017, causing an estimated $2.0 billion in damage. Yet another, on July 7, 2009, in Jefferson County, caused $1.2 billion in damage. It should be noted that in some of the above cases high winds also contributed to the damage totals and are not necessarily separated from the actual hail damage costs.

Deadliest U.S. hailstorms

In spite of the enormous crop and property damage that hailstorms cause, only three people are known to have been killed by falling hailstones in modern U.S. history:

—a farmer caught in his field near Lubbock, Texas on May 13, 1930;

—a baby struck by large hail in Fort Collins, Colorado, on July 30, 1979;

—and a boater on Lake Worth, Texas, on March 29, 2000.

Largest U.S. hailstones

The largest officially recognized hailstone on record to have been “captured” in the U.S. was that which fell near Vivian, South Dakota on July 23, 2010. It measured 8.0” in diameter, 18.5” in circumference, and weighed in at 1.9375 pounds. Lee Scott, who collected the monster stone, said that he had originally planned to make daiquiris out of the hail, but fortunately thought better and placed it in a freezer before turning it over to the National Weather Service for certification. The hailstone ended up at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The journal Weather has a detailed account of the investigation into this event.

The National Weather Service had this to say about the Vivian hailstone: “The reported value has been evaluated by the National Climate Extremes Committee and found to be accurate. This hailstone is the heaviest and greatest diameter stone on record for the United States. When initially collected after the storm, the stone had a reported diameter of 11 inches, but deteriorated in the observer's freezer owing to a loss of power after the storm”.

Other instances of 8-inch-diameter hail have been reported in the past but not certified. The U.S. Weather Bureau’s Climatological Data by Sections Vol. 22, Part 2 (April-June 1935) mentions a hailstorm producing 8-inch-diameter hailstones near Ponca City, Oklahoma, on April 17, 1935. A report published in the New York Times on December 27, 1892 (apparently initially printed in the Galveston News) claimed hail of 8” in diameter fell at Gay Hill, Texas, during a storm on December 6, 1892.

More recently, what would have been the largest hailstone in U.S. history if not for the Vivian event was a 7.75”-diameter hailstone collected in Wichita, Kansas , following a storm on September 15, 2010. Note that this happened less than two months after the Vivian event!

Below is a list by state of the largest hailstones ever measured for each state. Only a few states maintain an “official” list of such records for hail (as noted in SCEC reports ), which I note first in the table and then followed by a list of ‘unofficial’ sizes by state. I have gathered these reports from various sources. If any readers could add to this list or correct it, it would be much appreciated!

Hail accumulations

Some hailstorms train over the same area (as stationary or slow-moving thunderstorms develop), producing massive hail accumulations. Hail accumulated 18” deep on level in Seldon, Kansas, on June 3, 1959, perhaps the greatest on-level hail accumulation on record in the U.S.

As shown in the image at top, rainfall during or following a hailstorm can cause hail accumulations to wash into ditches, creek beds, or other low-lying areas, resulting in enormous piles of hail often several feet deep. This was the case during a storm south of Clayton, New Mexico on August 13, 2004 when a 12” hail accumulation was swept into a draw by 5” of rainfall. A culvert in the draw became clogged by the flow and the hail piled up to an astonishing 15 feet behind it!

How climate change may affect hail climatology

Not much is known what effect climate change might have on hail climatology, although a 2017 paper in Nature Climate Change used a novel modeling approach to estimate changes in hail frequency and size for 2014–2070 as compared to 1971–2000. They concluded: “Although fewer hail days are expected over most areas in the future, an increase in the mean hail size is projected, with fewer small hail events and a shift toward a more frequent occurrence of larger hail. This leads to an anticipated increase in hail damage potential over most southern regions in spring, retreating to the higher latitudes (that is, north of 50° N) and the Rocky Mountains in the summer. In contrast, a dramatic decrease in hail frequency and damage potential is predicted over eastern and southeastern regions in spring and summer due to a significant increase in melting that mitigates gains in hail size from increased buoyancy”.

Christopher C. Burt

Weather Historian

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Christopher C. Burt is the author of "Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book." He studied meteorology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

email [email protected]

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PHOTOS: Severe weather hits Central Texas Thursday morning, evening

by: Jaclyn Ramkissoon

Posted: Mar 2, 2023 / 09:16 AM CST

Updated: Mar 3, 2023 / 05:56 AM CST

Top video: Hail in Lago Vista

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (KXAN) — A round of strong to severe storms developed over Central Texas Thursday morning, dropping hail in parts of the Hill Country.

KXAN viewers in Fredericksburg and Blanco County went outside to capture the hail through photos and videos. Here’s a compilation.

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Hail bouncing off a trampoline in Fredericksburg, Texas

Hail in Fredericksburg, Texas (Courtesy: Chris Barnett)

A second widespread round of storms hit Thursday afternoon and evening from about 3 to 10 p.m., according to the First Warning Weather team .

Viewers sent in photos of hail, wind, rain and lightning. See those photos below.

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Severe storm conditions moved out of the Central Texas area around 9 p.m. Thursday.

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Thunderstorm Safety and Preparedness

Everything you need to know about hail storms, by simone m. scully, april 20, 2021.

Extreme hail storm falling on the high plains of Nebraska. This extreme weather event caused damage to vehicles and property, Nebraska, USA.

In 1981, massive thunderstorms brought 100 mph winds, tornadoes, flash floods and grapefruit-sized hailstones of over 4.5 inches in diameter to Texas and the surrounding region, including Oklahoma, Kansas and Alabama.

20 people died. The total estimated damage was estimated to cost $1.2 billion .

This is not the first time that storms with hail have been deadly. In fact, history is full of accounts of deadly hailstorms. For example, in 1360 on “Black Monday,” a hail storm killed around 1,000 English soldiers in Chartres, France — a frightening development in the Hundred Year’s War between the two countries. In 1888, a bad hail storm with orange-sized hail in Moradabad, India killed 246 people .

Hail storms are relatively frequent in the United States. According to NOAA’s Severe Storms database, there were 5,396 major hail storms in 2019.

A very severe hail storm with wind driven baseball hail(and larger) destroys property in its path in eastern Nebraska June 3, 2014. Typically large hail just falls straight down, damaging mostly roofs. This was a rare case of big hail being pushed along by strong straight line winds, producing intense property damage.

It’s important to know about hailstorms so you can avoid injury and stay safe during one.

Here are 14 facts about them:

1. Hail is a form of precipitation — like rain or snow — that is made up of solid ice.

Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It is distinct from sleet, though the two are often confused for one another

2. It is not the same thing as frozen rain.

Frozen rain falls as water but freezes as it gets near the ground.

Hail falls as a solid, known as hailstone.

3. Hailstones are formed when rain droplets are carried upwards by a current of air, called an updraft, during thunderstorms.

“Hail forms as robust thunderstorms grow taller and taller, lofting moisture up into the atmosphere where it freezes,” explains Jonathan Belles, digital meteorologist at

4. "The stronger the thunderstorm, the larger the hail can get," says Belles.

That's because hailstones grow in size as the frozen moisture droplets collide with surrounding water vapor, causing that water to freeze on the hailstone’s surface in layers.

A frozen droplet will start to fall back towards earth from a storm cloud, then be pushed back up into the cloud by an updraft, hitting rain droplets — which freeze on its surface — as it moves.

Winds inside a thunderstorm aren’t just up and down, though, especially in severe storms. There are horizontal winds, such as rotating updrafts in supercell thunderstorms, which can move the hailstone too and affect how it grows.

Extreme hail storm falling on the high plains of Nebraska. This extreme weather event caused damage to vehicles and property, Nebraska, USA. (Extreme hail storm falling on the high plains of Nebraska. This extreme weather event caused damage to vehicl

Eventually, the hail does fall to the ground. This happens, Belles explains, "when updrafts can no longer support the weight of the hailstones."

5. Hailstones can be clear or cloudy.

It all depends on how the hailstone forms : If the hailstone collides with water droplets and they freeze instantaneously, cloudy ice will form because air bubbles will be trapped inside it.

If the water freezes more slowly, air bubbles will be able to escape and the ice will be clearer.

They can also have layers of clear and cloudy ice as the hailstone experiences different conditions in the thunderstorm.

6. Hail size is often estimated by comparing it to a known object.

A hailstone bigger than a golfball that fell during a storm in Sydney causing widespread damage.

For example, hail that is ¼ inch in diameter is referred to as pea-size, hail that is 1-inch in diameter is called a quarter-size, and hail that is 4 inches in diameter is softball-size.

“Most hailstones are small, generally pea size,” says Belles. “The National Weather Service considers hail dangerous to life and property when the stones reach about the size of quarters. We typically see hail up to softball size several times a year.”

It’s worth noting, however, that most hailstorms are made up of a mix of different sizes.

7. The largest hailstone ever recovered in the United States was 8 inches in diameter and had a circumference of 18.62 inches.

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), it weighed 1lb. 15 oz. and it fell in Vivian, South Dakota.

8. The speed that hail falls depends on a lot of things.

The speed depends on the size of the hailstone, the friction between the hailstone and surrounding air, the local wind conditions and whether or not the hailstone starts to melt.

reports of hail

According to NSSL, small hailstones under an inch usually fall at speeds between 9 and 25mph, whereas hailstones of an inch to 1.75-inches in diameter typically fall faster — between 25-40mph. The strongest supercells , which can produce hail between 2 and 4 inches in diameter, can cause hail to fall at speeds of 44-72mph.

9. Hail storms can happen all year long.

“Hail can form at any time of the year as long as the thunderstorms are strong enough,” explains Belles. “While the biggest hail is often associated with severe thunderstorms in the Plains and Southeast from February to June or July, hail is also common in the cooler season along the West Coast as storm systems take advantage of the winter cold air.”

From 2009-2018, May and June averaged nearly 3000 reports of severe hail , which the National Weather Service classifies as being one inch or larger in diameter.

10. Some regions do get more hailstorms than others — and it’s not necessarily the regions that get the most thunderstorms.

Florida is a very thunderstorm-prone state, but it’s not actually the place where hail storms are most common.

“Hail is most likely from the Dakotas to Texas during the course of the year,” explains Belles. “This is the location where the strongest thunderstorms overlap with cold air aloft and fast winds in the jet stream.”

Extreme hail storm falling on the high plains of Colorado. This extreme weather event caused damage to vehicles and property, Colorado, USA. (Extreme hail storm falling on the high plains of Colorado. This extreme weather event caused damage to vehicl

The area where Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming meet is known as “ hail alley ” and it averages seven to nine hail days per year, according to NSSL. Colorado experiences the greatest damage from hail storms, followed by Texas, Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Abroad, China, Russia, India and northern Italy get frequent hail storms too.

11. Hail falls in paths called “hail swaths.”

These can be seen from the airplanes and they occur as thunderstorms move while the hail falls.

According to NSSL, hail swaths can range in size from just a few acres to an area 10 miles wide and 100 miles long .

12. Hail storms can cause significant damage.

Destroyed crop plants on a devastated field after a massive thunderstorm with hail in Southern Germany, taken on June 11, 2011, the morning after the storm.

Hailstones can cause a lot of damage to buildings, vehicles, crops and livestock.

In fact, hail causes approximately $1 billion in property and crop damage every year in the United States. One of the costliest hail storms in the country hit Denver, Colorado in July 1990 and caused $625 million in damage . A 2016 study by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that insurance companies paid $5.37 billion in total hail claims to automotive policy holders.

While quarter-size hail will cause damage to shingles, golf ball-size hail can cause dents on cars and baseball-sized hail can smash windshields. Softball sized hail, meanwhile, can cause holes in roofs .

LOUISVILLE, CO - JUNE 19: Gregg Crouger, left, and his neighbor Loraine Benas look at the hail damage to Benas' Nissan Altima from a large hailstorm that raced through their neighborhood the night before on June 19, 2018 in Louisville, Colorado.  A severe hail storm hit their neighborhood with hail the size of large eggs that ripped through trees and destroyed many cars, rooftops and solar panels. More severe weather and afternoon thunderstorms are in the forecast for the rest of the week. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

While reported human deaths from being struck by hail are somewhat rare in North America, they do happen. In 2000 a man in Fort Worth, Texas was killed when he was struck by softball-sized hailstone.

Hail storms can also cause severe injuries. On average, an estimated 24 people are injured by large hail each year, but sometimes, there can be a lot of injuries from one storm. For example, a May 1995 hailstorm in Texas injured 400 people when they were caught outside during Mayfest with very little shelter available; 60 of those injured required hospitalization.

Even hail storms that produce a lot of small hail can be dangerous because all those hailstones can completely cover roads. If these hail piles are deep enough, they can prevent car tires from touching the road at all. This makes driving conditions similar to icy winters.

reports of hail

13. It’s tough to forecast when a hailstorm might occur in advance.

“We usually have a few days heads up that conditions might be ripe for hail, but we don't know that any community will have hail until an hour or so before it occurs,” says Belles.

14. The best way to protect yourself from a hailstorm is to be prepared, especially if you live in a hail-prone region.

“We all should have our storm kits well-stocked throughout the year,” says Belles, and those storm kits should include helmets. “[They] can help you save your head from both the hail itself and the debris that can also come with severe thunderstorms.”

It’s also a good idea to make a disaster preparedness plan for your family so that you all know where to go for safety and how to contact each other after an emergency.

If severe weather occurs, such as a bad thunderstorm, tune in to the radio or another news source to make sure you stay up to date of any immediate threats to your family or property.

15. If you get caught outside in a hail storm, seek shelter indoors.

reports of hail

Make sure you stay inside until the hail stops and stay away from skylights and windows. Close the drapes or curtains if you have them to keep broken glass and hailstones out of your home. It’s also best to seek shelter at least one level down from the roof.

If you’re driving, pull over as soon as possible, preferably by near a place with shelter, like a garage or under a gas station awning. Make sure you’re completely off of the highway.

“If you’re caught in a hail storm in your car with no sturdy structures nearby, please stay in your car and cover yourself if possible,” Belles says. “While windows may break, the car should keep your head safe.”

If you’re outside and you can’t find shelter, find something to at least protect your head and stay out of ditches or lowland areas because they could fill with water. Avoid trees because they can lose branches during thunderstorms and isolated trees can also attract lightning.

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NWS confirms tornado hit Hopkins County; here's how many tornado, hail and wind reports Texas saw

The National Weather Service in Fort Worth has confirmed at least one tornado hit a city in southeast Hopkins County.

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DALLAS — The National Weather Service in Fort Worth has confirmed at least one tornado hit a city in southeast Hopkins County, as multiple severe storms moved through North Texas on Thursday.

NWS said Friday an EF-1 tornado with estimated max wind gusts of 110 mph swept through Pickton, Texas. NWS said most of the damage reported was confined to mostly trees and roofs. 

The severe weather carried powerful winds and brought down hail throughout the North Texas region. Damage is continuing to be reported and NWS will continue tp conduct surveys of areas. 

Thursday, a tornado watch was issued for most of the area through the evening hours. The severe storms cleared out by the late evening hours.

The WFAA Weather Team was tracking tornado and hail reports throughout the night and meteorologist Greg Fields broke down what we saw throughout the night. 

So far, as of Friday afternoon, there were 112 wind reports, 29 hail reports and six tornado reports.

While it has not been confirmed as a tornado by NWS, WFAA also got video of this spin-up and power flash in Celina. 

WOW! 👀 Check out this video of a spin-up and power flash out in Celina! Raelena Grijalva took this video from her balcony at The Livano at Bluewood. MORE: — WFAA (@wfaa) March 3, 2023
Here is a closer angle on the Celina spin-up and power flash we showed you earlier this morning. 🎥: Pallavi Dhiraj Banerjee MORE: — WFAA (@wfaa) March 3, 2023

Most of the reports of potential tornadoes closest to the metroplex occurred in East Texas around Interstate 30 near Sulphur Springs. The NWS in Shreveport, La., has already determined the area near Sulphur Springs as a potential damage area.

Here are areas that we will be investigating for tornado damage in the coming days from our first round of severe weather. More damage will be possible with the line of storms moving across the area tonight. If you have damage, please let us know in the comments. — NWS Shreveport (@NWSShreveport) March 3, 2023

You'll noticed there were an abundance of wind and hail reports along the western and north western portions of Dallas-Fort Worth. The highest wind reports we saw on Thursday night were: 

Get the latest updates on DFW weather, sports and news headlines with the free WFAA app .

More Texas headlines:

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Georgia's peak severe thunderstorm season is March, April and May. A secondary peak may occur during the months of September and October, but not always. Severe thunderstorms can, and do, occur at anytime of the day or night as well as any month of the year.

When a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING is issued, large hail may pelt you, your home, your pets, and your property. These warnings are issued when a severe thunderstorm is indicated by radar, or reported by a reliable source. You should move to a safe place immediately. If time permits, consider moving vehicles into sheltered areas (garages, carports, etc.) and provide shelter for pets.

IF SEVERE WEATHER OCCURS IN YOUR AREA: remain in safe shelter until the storms have passed. Once it is safe to leave the shelter, report any severe weather , such as a tornado, or hail the size of dimes or larger, or wind damage such as snapped power lines, fallen trees or roof damage to your local National Weather Service or contact your local law enforcement agency and ask them to relay thcleare information to the National Weather Service.

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Baseball-sized hail

NSSL Research: Hail

Hail is a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into ice. Hail can cause billions of dollars of damage to structures, crops and livestock. NSSL focuses research efforts towards the prediction and detection of hail and hailstorms to give those in the path of the storm enough time to seek shelter and protect their property.

Hail Research Areas

Dual-polarization radar.

NSSL was a pioneer in dual-polarization radar technology, now installed on NWS radars across the U.S. Forecasters use dual-polarization technology to clearly identify rain, hail, snow or ice pellets. This gives forecasters more confidence to accurately assess weather events because they will have more information to forecast what kind of precipitation there will be and how much to expect.

Hail Detection

NSSL scientists are developing algorithms that will produce estimates of whether the precipitation is falling in liquid or frozen form, or if the precipitation is reaching the ground. NSSL's Hydrometeor Classification Algorithm (HCA) uses dual-polarization technology to automatically sort between ten types of radar echoes including big raindrops and hail. This helps the forecaster quickly assess the precipitation event and better forecast how much will fall.

The HCA is continuously being refined as NSSL collects precipitation reports from the public via the mPING (Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground) mobile app. Researchers compare reports of hail location and size with what is detected by dual-pol radar.

The mostly student-run NSSL/CIMMS (now CIWRO) Severe Hazards Analysis and Verification Experiment (SHAVE) collected hail, wind damage and flash flooding reports through phone surveys each summer from 2006 to 2015. SHAVE reports, when combined with the voluntary reports collected by the NWS, created a unique and comprehensive database of severe and non-severe weather events and enhanced climatological information about severe storm threats in the U.S.

Hail Damage

NSSL's On-Demand web-based tool helps confirm when and where severe weather occurred by mapping circulations or hail detected by radar on Google Earth satellite images. NWS forecasters can quickly review warnings and check their accuracy with this system. Emergency responders and damage surveyors have also used On-Demand to produce high-resolution street maps of affected areas, so they can more effectively begin rescue and recovery efforts and damage assessments.

Hail Microphysics

The NSSL Field Observing Facilities and Support group (FOFS) has built a special balloon-borne instrument called a Particle Imager, designed to capture high-definition images of water and ice particles as it is launched into, and rises up through, a thunderstorm. The instrument is flown as part of a “train” of other instruments connected one after another to a balloon. These other instruments measure electrical field strength and direction, and other important atmospheric variables such as temperature, dewpoint, pressure and winds. Data from these systems helps researchers understand the relationships between the many macro and microphysical properties in thunderstorms.

Large Hail Climatology

An NSSL scientist developed Severe Thunderstorm Climatology to estimate the likelihood of severe weather events such as tornadoes, large hail and damaging thunderstorm winds on a given day in the U.S.

Hail Research Partnerships

NSSL collaborates with research companies to help the insurance industry anticipate and react to hail and other storm damage, saving time and money. Under the terms of the multi-year joint research project (CRADA), NSSL provides data to the company, which in turn provides critical insurance industry feedback and quality control assessments to improve NSSL's algorithms.

Past Hail Research

NSSL was a pioneer in dual-polarization radar technology, now installed on NWS radars across the U.S.

NSSL developed a Hail Detection Algorithm used by the NWS WSR-88D radars in the late 1990s. This algorithm indicated whether or not a storm cell was producing hail. An enhanced Hail Detection Algorithm was developed several years later, which estimates the probability of hail (any size), probability of severe-size hail (diameter greater or equal to 19mm), and maximum expected hail size for each detected storm cell. A new parameter, called the severe hail index (SHI), was developed as part of the suite.


From left, "American Idol" judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan appear during Season 19.

After hail slams Hill Country, more severe weather possible for San Antonio area

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San Marcos got hit with hail for 10 minutes early Thursday morning, March 2, 2023.

San Marcos got hit with hail for 10 minutes early Thursday morning, March 2, 2023.

San Marcos got hit with hail for 10 minutes early Thursday morning, March 2, 2023.

Softball-sized hail fell in parts of the Hill Country early Thursday morning — and nature’s not done with Central Texas yet, as more severe weather could be coming.

There were three major tracks of hail through the Hill Country in the early morning hours, according to the National Weather Service’s Austin/ San Antonio office. Those included reports of hail 4 inches in diameter — roughly the size of a softball — near Dilley, a city 66 miles southwest of San Antonio in Frio County.

Here is a look at the tracks of hail last night and radar estimated hail sizes (in inches). We have confirmed reports of 4 inch diameter hail, softball sized, near Dilley, southwest of San Antonio! — NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) March 2, 2023

Twitter user @shannonsedg replied to the National Weather Service’s post with their own picture of “sonic ice size hail” in Shavano Park.

We got sonic ice size hail in shavano park so south of the track shown there inside 1604. — Shannon Sedgwick Davis ?’??’? (@shannonsedg) March 2, 2023

A swastika embedded in a light fixture in the Aztec Theatre downtown recently caused controversy when this photo was posted on the online forum Reddit. The theater was completed in 1926, years before Germany's Nazi party came to power.

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How climate change is leading to bigger hailstones

Larger hailstones form in layers of different kinds of ice that are determined by the amount of air trapped inside the ice (Credit: Lukas Jonaitis/Alamy)

It was the height of summer in the UK and the country found itself in the grip of a heatwave. In Leicestershire, in the midlands of England, children on their school holidays played in paddling pools to stay cool. Then the sky darkened.

In the early evening of 21 July 2021, hailstones the size of golf balls pelted suddenly from the sky, smashing windows and battering cars. Gardens that were a few moments earlier filled with people soaking up the evening sun, were left badly damaged by the downpour of ice.

While the hailstorm – caused by strong updrafts of cloud high in the atmosphere – was unusual in its severity, it was mild compared to a hailstorm that struck Calgary in Canada in June 2020 . Hailstones the size of tennis balls caused damage to at least 70,000 homes and vehicles, destroyed crops and left the area facing a C$1.2bn (US$940m/£720m) repair bill. The 20-minute hailstorm was one of the country's most costly weather events .

And climate change is altering the pattern of hailstorms . In Texas , Colorado and Alabama the records for largest hailstone have been broken in the last three years, reaching sizes of up to 16cm (6.2 inches) in diameter. In 2020, Tripoli, the capital of Libya, was struck by hailstones nearly 18cm (7.1in) across .

While giant hailstones – classed as those with a diameter greater than 10cm (3.9in) – are extremely rare, they are an indicator and hail damage in the US now averages more than $10bn (£7.6bn) a year.

But why might global warming be causing an increase in the amount of ice falling from the sky? And are their limits to just how big a hailstone can grow?

Some large hailstones form as smaller ones collide and fuse together as they are buffeted around in a storm (Credit: Nature Picture Library/Alamy)

Some large hailstones form as smaller ones collide and fuse together as they are buffeted around in a storm (Credit: Nature Picture Library/Alamy)

Hail forms as droplets of water are carried upward into a thunderstorm . Updraughts carry them into parts of the atmosphere where the air is cold enough to freeze the droplets. Moisture from the air accumulates on the outside of the drops of ice as it moves through the air, causing the hailstone to grow in onion-like layers.

How fast a hailstone grows depends on the amount of moisture in the air. It will continue to grow until the updraught is no longer strong enough to keep it aloft. A 103km/h (64mph) updraft supports hail the size of a golf ball , while one 27% faster can create hailstones the size of baseballs, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (although as we will see in a moment, the size of a hailstone doesn't always directly relate to its weight). More humid air and more powerful updraughts will bring bigger hailstones. Often larger hailstones will fall closer to the updraught while smaller hailstones will fall further away, often blown there by cross winds.

Destructive storms that produce hailstones more than 25mm (1in) in diameter require a specific set of conditions, says Julian Brimelow, a physical sciences specialist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, a department of the Canadian government, who has studied how climate change affects hail formation. They require enough moisture, powerful updraughts, and a "trigger factor", typically a weather front. This is why serious hailstorms are usually confined to particular regions such as the Great Plains in the US and Australia’s Gold Coast. Typically such regions have cool, dry air in the upper atmosphere above warm, humid surface air. This unstable situation leads to strong updraughts and the formation of thunderstorms.

Such locations are particularly prone to a type of thunderstorm known as supercells , which can produce very large hail due to the powerful rotating updraughts they create.

But as climate change alters the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere, so too is the amount of moisture in the air. Warmer air can hold more water vapour while higher temperatures also mean more water is evaporated from the Earth's surface. This is predicted to lead to heavier rainfall and more extreme storms in parts of the world.

Fewer days with small hail have been observed with warming, but there have been more days with larger hail – Julian Brimelow

"As the planet continues to warm, areas where hailstorms are favoured are likely to shift," says Brimelow. "An area now where sufficient moisture is a limiting factor may become more moist and consequently, hailstorm frequency may increase." 

A combination of observations of changes already taking place and climate modelling has led researchers to conclude that hailstorms will become more frequent in Australia and Europe, but there will be a decrease in East Asia and North America. But they also found that hailstorms will become generally more intense.

And while hailstorms might become less frequent in North America, hailstones when they fall are also likely to get larger , according to a separate study by Brimelow and his colleagues that looked at how hail conditions in North America might change in a warmer world.

One of the reasons for this is because the height at which hailstones start to melt as they fall will be raised , so small hailstones will melt into rain before they hit the ground, but larger stones pass too rapidly through the warm zone for melting to have much effect on them.  

"We have in fact already seen evidence of this, with hail pad data in France indicating a shift in the size distribution of hail ," says Brimelow. Hail pads are blocks of soft material that are left out in storms and deform when impacted by hail to give a record of the size and number of hailstones in the area. "Fewer days with small hail have been observed with warming, but there have been more days with larger hail." 

A hailstone measuring 4.83in (12cm) at its widest point was collected after a storm in Bethune, Colorado, US, in 2019 (Credit: National Weather Service, Goodland Forecast Office)

A hailstone measuring 4.83in (12cm) at its widest point was collected after a storm in Bethune, Colorado, US, in 2019 (Credit: National Weather Service, Goodland Forecast Office)

It could mean that annual damage caused by hail might also increase. But pinning down exactly which areas will see increased damage from hail is difficult, Brimelow says.

In areas where hail damage is expected, structures may be rated for hail resistance. The current method uses steel balls which may be dropped or fired from a pneumatic launcher to simulate impacts, but increasing the size of hailstones does not scale up the damage as simply as you might expect.  A 2020 study  by Texas Tech University explored why prediction is so difficult and why hailstorms can be far more damaging than expected. 

The temperature and the level of moisture in the air a hailstone forms in can influence how dense it is. In very cold air, water freezes as soon as it collides with the hailstone, but this can lead to a lot of air and being mixed with the ice. If the water freezes more slowly, perhaps because the air is warmer or the amount of moisture in the air is high, meaning not all of it freezes instantly, the air bubbles have time to escape. This leads to clear ice that tends to be denser. Small hailstones are only half as dense as pure ice , as they have a lot of air mixed in as they tend to move rapidly up through the atmosphere before falling again.

The largest hailstones are often composed of a complex mixture of ice layers that form as they move around in the air column. Looking at a cross section of ice can reveal a great deal about how it formed while lopes and icicle-like structures on the outside of the hailstone also provide hints at how it might have been rotating as it was tossed about in the storm.

Hailstones as big as eggs – like these that fell in Louisville, Colorado, in 2018 – are not uncommon in severe storms (Credit: Helen H Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

Hailstones as big as eggs – like these that fell in Louisville, Colorado, in 2018 – are not uncommon in severe storms (Credit: Helen H Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

Blasting Back at the Heavens

Not everyone allows the sky to bombard them with hailstones without firing back.

An arsenal of cannon and rockets have been deployed over the years in an attempt to prevent damaging hailstorms, though their effect is at best questionable. 

In the 1890s, vineyards across Europe deployed hail cannon, a device pointed into the sky to break up storm clouds by projecting the force of an explosion via a large horn. These cannon were intended to prevent grapes from being damaged by hail. In the 1900s, the Italian government carried out extensive research and concluded that hail cannon had no effect, a finding repeated by other researchers. Some European vineyards still use hail cannon.

In the Republic of Georgia, the national Anti-Hail Service uses weather radar to track storm clouds and deploys silver-iodide bearing rockets against them to stave off hail . The government has installed 85 of the anti-hail missile systems and the service claims over 90% effectiveness, but the results have yet to be verified.

One large hailstone measuring 17cm (7in) across that was examined after it fell during  a storm in Aurora, Nebraska in 2003 , for example, was found to have a type of "spongy" air-filled ice at its core and dense clear ice on the outer layers. If it had been made of pure ice, scientists who studied it say the volley-ball sized hailstone should have weighed about 2.5kg (5.5lbs), but it in  fact weighed only 500g (1.1lbs) due to the lower density core . They concluded that the hailstone had initially formed as it quickly rose through the clouds, before being tossed out of the updraught by sidewinds before falling back into it again, and this time rising more slowly due to its larger size, and so growing bigger with denser ice.

The density of the hailstone also effects how large it can grow. The heavier it is, the more likely it will fall out of an updraught. And it will also fall faster too, because the bigger a hailstone, the less drag it experiences per unit weight. Hailstones of less than 25mm (1in) diameter typically fall at 11 to 22 m/s (25 – 49 mph), while those of 25-45mm (1-1.7in) fall at 22 to 29 m/s (49 - 65 mph), according to Brimelow. The heaviest hailstone ever recorded fell in Gopalganj district of Bangladesh in 1986,  weighing 1.02kg (2.25lbs).  The hailstorm killed  40 people and injured 400 others , according to reports at the time, but later reports suggest as many as  92 people may have lost their lives .

But the speed at which a hailstone falls is far from simple. Researchers have in the past assumed that hailstones are approximately spherical, whereas  recent research has shown  they are more like flattened rugby balls, which can lead to more air resistance as they fall. They also become more uneven as they get larger, with nodules and lobes forming. Both of these factors affect their aerodynamics and how fast they fall, and so how much damage they cause when they finally hit the ground.

Finally, the speed at which a hailstone hits is not the same as its falling speed. For one thing, there may be a horizontal component – side winds can increase the impact speed of a hailstone compared to if it had hit in freefall. The most damaging hail events are downbursts, driven by powerful downdraughts – where air rapidly descends from storms and spread outwards when they hit the ground , producing very high wind speeds. Downbursts are typically only a few kilometres or miles across and last a matter of minutes, but can feature vertical windspeeds of 70-80m/s (156-179mph) with correspondingly destructive hail.  

Large hailstones travelling at these sorts of speeds have the power to punch through roof tiles, smash car windows and tear off cladding on buildings . They can devastate crops , injure people and animals. They pose a particular threat to aircraft .

(I once witnessed a downburst in Mendoza, Argentina some years ago – it brought down trees, and the hail was piled up in drifts afterwards, even though it was a warm day).  

All of these factors put together mean that scaled-up hailstones can cause significantly more damage than expected. 

Damage caused by large hail downpours can cause damage to vehicles and buildings costing billions (Credit: Helen H Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

Damage caused by large hail downpours can cause damage to vehicles and buildings costing billions (Credit: Helen H Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

In 2018, the town of Villa Carlos Paz in Argentina was hit by stones of unprecedented size, with some  measuring 18cm (7.1in) across but there could have been some hailstones possibly even as large as 23.7cm (9.3in) in size . Although such dimensions are thought to be close to the world record in size for a hailstone, it is difficult to be certain. For one, giant hailstones are rarely recovered intact, as they tend to strike with shattering force.  

Meteorologist Matthew Kumjian of Pennsylvania State University  came up with the estimate of the hailstones  that fell on Villa Carlos Paz after analysing the many images posted on social media after the storm. He then visited the site and measured lamp posts, awnings and other background objects to get an exact scale, as well as interviewing witnesses. He also managed to inspect one stone preserved in a freezer that measured 11.4cm (4in).

Kumijan notes that reports of giant hail have become more common in recent years.  

"In the last two decades, there's been about 10 reports of hail about six inches (15cm) in maximum dimension or greater in the US," says Kumjian. "Those are exceptionally rare." 

Records have been tumbling in recent years. A hailstone measuring  16cm (6.4in) across and weighing 590g (1.3lbs), for example, was collected after a storm near Hondo, Texas  in April last year. The hailstone was preserved in a freezer and later confirmed as a new record in the state.

Gargantuan hailstones are often outliers in storms that contain far more abundant, smaller hailstones that are still capable of causing widespread damage

But just how big can a hailstone get? Kumjian estimates the largest possible hailstone at 27cm (10.6in) across or "bowling ball sized", based on data from modelling simulations, the maximum mass of a hailstone to be reported (around 1kg/2.2lbs) and research on shape. However, nothing quite this large has yet to be recorded and he says he is working with some colleagues to refine the estimate. While 27cm (10.6in) is at the upper end of the estimates, a hailstone of those proportions would be highly irregular in shape. But he says the ingredients needed to create such a large hailstone – strong updrafts, plenty of supercooled liquid water and plenty time spent travelling around in the cold air – exist today. 

"The strong 'supercell' thunderstorms that produce the world's largest hailstones have many of these ingredients coming together already, so the strongest of these storms today is probably capable of producing a supergiant stone," he says.

Gargantuan hailstones, however, are often outliers in storms that contain far more abundant, smaller hailstones that are still capable of causing widespread damage. However, because of their potential to kill livestock and people and severely damage property, giant hailstones are significant even though they are rare.  

On 9 June 2006, an Airbus 321 airliner in South Korea, encountered a powerful hailstorm which ripped off the radome (the structure on the nose that protects the radar) and destroyed the radar. Hail battered the wing edges and stabilisers, and parts of the radome were ingested by an engine, damaging it. The crew had to deal with a barrage of automated warning messages triggered by all the damage. They eventually managed to land safely, but only after two missed approaches due to poor visibility.  

Aircraft have always been at risk from hail, with 20 incidents recorded from 2017-2019 . Their windscreens are strong enough to resist bird strikes so hail does not usually damage them, but hail damage can obscure the windscreen making landing more difficult, as in the South Korean incident.  

Weather radar normally allows aircraft to avoid hailstorms, but hail at high altitude – seven of the recorded incidents between 2017-2019 took place above 30,000ft (9,144m) – tends to be dry because the extremely cold temperatures means all moisture is frozen. This means it reflects radar faintly and is difficult to spot. And, as you might expect, larger hailstones are more dangerous than small ones. 

On the ground, two new and increasingly common structures are particularly at risk: solar panels and wind turbines. 

These large hailstones hit the Uskudar district of Istanbul, turkey in September 2020 in a storm that caused widespread damage (Credit: Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

These large hailstones hit the Uskudar district of Istanbul, turkey in September 2020 in a storm that caused widespread damage (Credit: Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A 2019 study by the Institute for Environmental Studies in Amsterdam showed that more solar panels means more hail damage . An EU initiative is aiming to have a million zero-carbon homes by 2023 and solar is becoming much more common, but the researchers noted there is a lack of rules and standards to ensure panels are hail-resistant. Destructive hail triggered by climate change may destroy solar panels meant to counter climate change. 

Hail damage also erodes wind turbine blades , pushing up maintenance costs and increasing energy losses from wind farms. This is because the leading edge of the wind turbine has to be highly aerodynamic, slicing through the air with minimal resistance.  

The edge is typically a curved glass-fibre-reinforced polymer laminate with a brittle polyurethane-based coating. Even rain wears away at this edge, but hail has literally more impact, and repeated strikes will crack it. Any damage to the blade affects airflow and increases drag, making the turbine less efficient. A 2017 Danish study suggests hail damage can be reduced simply by stopping the turbine blades during extreme weather events to reduce the speed of impact.  

While more big hailstones may be coming our way, damage is not necessarily inevitable. One option is issuing hail warnings to affected areas. In South Africa insurance companies already send text alerts warning of hail, giving people a chance to get their cars or other property under cover. 

Hail netting made from monofilament polyethylene can protect vulnerable fruit such as apples and grapes, catching all but the largest hailstones. Similar netting is now also installed at some car dealerships in the US – a sector which, Brimelow notes, accounts for a significant proportion of hail insurance claims .  

A 2021 study led by Leila Tolderlund at the University of Colorado also highlighted the potential for green roofing as hail protection . This consists of a waterproof membrane with a thick layer of soil planted with vegetation. Green roofs provide insulation, reduce heat in summer and absorb CO2, but they also turn out to be excellent hail armour. The study found that in a simulated severe hailstorm, all the non-protected roof surfaces were damaged, while those with green roofing remained unharmed.  

There have also been attempts to predict the size of hailstones that might be generated by particular storms, but many of these lack accuracy . As Brimelow notes, it is too early to tell exactly where hail damage will occur in future. But it's clear from his work and others that the really big stuff is likely to still keep hurling down at us. All we can do is prepare, and find a decent shelter.

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Including details on wind speed and wind duration data on the date of loss, this report also includes historical data to verify other events that have occurred at the property location. Incorporating severe weather data within 1 and 5 miles of the property, this report can help verify these events without the need to visit the loss site.

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Weather News

Storm damage reports come in from across north texas after tornado watch expires.

By Harriet Ramos ,

Amy McDaniel ,

Nicole Lopez , and

James Hartley

Damage assessments were underway Thursday night after powerful winds that roared through Dallas-Fort Worth led to severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings in the Metroplex and surrounding counties.

More than 270,000 people were without power in the region Thursday night, according to Oncor.

In Weatherford, police said officials were assessing what they initially believed to be tornado damage . The National Weather Service said Friday that it believes the damage was caused by straight line winds.

Weatherford police encouraged residents to watch for debris, downed power lines, and damaged gas lines or electrical systems. Residents were also encouraged to stay off the roads due to debris.

No injuries have been reported, police said.

Officials have not released an estimate or number of damaged buildings but advised residents to “be careful when entering any damaged structure. Beware of hazards from exposed nails or broken glass.”

“At this point we cannot provide you with full details because members of our team are continuing to assess the situation and perform damage assessment,” a Weatherford Emergency Management statement Thursday night said. “Our primary goals are to insure the safety of everyone, to continue serving the public and to provide the most accurate information we can as quickly as possible. Please avoid dialing 9-1-1 unless it is an emergency due to high call volumes at this time. To report property damage, please visit or use the QR code. This tool is designed to deploy early in a disaster impact area to gather Rapid Damage Assessment information revealing the scope and size of an event for public safety personnel.”

In a second update about 8:15 p.m., city officials said that about 10,000 households and businesses were without power. “This is over half of our electric customers. Due to the extent of the damage our main priority is getting power back to critical care units, such as nursing homes and medical facilities. We will continue to provide updates as quickly as possible, but we do not have an estimation on when power will be restored to residents and businesses without power. We understand the frustrations of being without power and we are working as quickly as possible.”

Weatherford ISD said that because of power outages, debris on roads and minor damage to some campuses, all of the district’s schools and offices will be closed Friday, March 3.

A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for Parker County until 6 p.m. Just before 5, a severe thunderstorm was located over Cool and Mineral Wells, moving east with 70 mph wind gusts and quarter-size hail.

In Millsap, officials reported a fire station lost part of its roof to wind damage.

“Prayers for the safety of Parker County tonight,” Parker County Judge Pat Deen wrote on Facebook. “Working with our EOC along with cities and legislators on the impact storms have/had. Crews are working to get power restored.”

Deen posted photos showing large trees knocked down by the storm.

According to the Weatherford Democrat , Mineral Wells ISD Superintendent John Kuhn reported a portable classroom building also sustained damage.

Fort Worth-area damage reports

Around 62,000 people in Fort Worth were without power and vehicles were overturned, but no loss of life has been reported so far, the Fort Worth Fire Department said Thursday night.

MedStar confirmed an 18-wheeler was involved in a rollover, as were two other vehicles. Four people were taken to hospitals because of storm-related crashes, of which there were 21 reported.

With wind speeds surpassing 70 mph, warning sirens in Fort Worth were sounded around 5:40 p.m. Thursday, prompting people to rush outdoor furniture inside and others to stand and gaze up at dark, fast-moving clouds and the signs of impending rain.

No tornado warning was issued in Tarrant County, but residents shared a video with the Star-Telegram that appears to show a funnel cloud near Northlake and the Texas Motor Speedway.

Police and fire department personnel were responding Thursday evening to several calls about downed power lines, likely due to high wind speeds.

The fire department said just after 7 p.m. that firefighters were responding to two working fires in the wake of the storm, but it wouldn’t be clear until after an investigation if the severe weather caused them.

An apartment complex in Hurst — Hunter Chase — had roof damage and broken windows, according to a report made to the National Weather Service. About two dozen residents of the apartments were displaced and were being assisted by the Red Cross, KDFW-TV reported.

In north Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Office of Emergency Management had received reports of damage to roofs and fences of homes, and throughout the city, lawn furniture, trampolines and other debris were strewn throughout streets and across yards.

JD’s Hamburgers on Camp Bowie West Boulevard in far west Fort Worth will be closed Friday after losing “a good portion” of its roof and roof sign, owner Gigi Howell posted on Facebook.

In White Settlement, Police Chief Christopher Cook tweeted that there was, “Definitely some wind damage in our city with tree uprooted in 100 block of Saddle and leaning into utility pole lines, fences down in some neighborhoods, and major roof damage to business in 1500 block of S. Cherry.”

Definitely some wind damage in our city with tree uprooted in 100 block of Saddle and leaning into utility pole lines, fences down in some neighborhoods, and major roof damage to business in 1500 block of S. Cherry. — Christopher Cook (@cooktx) March 3, 2023

In North Richland Hills, emergency dispatchers answered over 400 calls in three hours, police said in a news release.

Officials noted widespread damage including large trees uprooted and power outages across North Richland Hills.

Residents were asked to call 817-281-1000 about downed lines or debris blocking major roadways. Debris blocking minor roadways can be reported online at

In Tarrant County, more than 95,000 customers were without electricity about 7 p.m., according to Oncor’s website. More than 110,000 were without power in Dallas County.

A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for Tarrant County until around 7 p.m. It was expected to be a destructive storm with wind gusts over 80 mph, the National Weather Service warned.

Residents in Tarrant County, including Fort Worth and Arlington were told to expect “wind speeds as strong as a weak tornado,” and stay away from windows, the weather service said.

If your phones alerted and you hear sirens, that is for wind speeds as strong as a weak tornado. So treat it like one! Get inside, away from windows! #dfwwx — NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) March 2, 2023

Dallas, Collin and Denton counties

A similar warning was in effect for Dallas and Collin counties until 7:15 p.m. and a tornado warning was in effect for southern Dallas County until 7.

Residents were warned to expect considerable damage to roofs, windows and vehicles, as well as extensive tree damage and power outages.

Between 6 and 8:30 p.m., Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to 40 motor vehicle accidents, two high-water incidents, four automatic fire alarms, and 76 calls about power lines and transformers.

According to the weather service, a semi truck blew over and blocked the westbound lanes of Interstate 20 in southeast Dallas about 6:45 p.m.

In Collin County, wind damage was reported to businesses at Preston Road and West Park Boulevard, the weather service said.

Storms warnings also were in place for Denton, Somervell, Erath and Hood counties around the same time.

In Denton County, a partial building collapse was reported at a shopping center at West El Dorado Parkway and South Park Drive in Little Elm. WFAA-TV reported that part of La Azteca Meat Market collapsed onto cars in front of the store.

La Azteca front facade collapses onto parked vehicles in Little Elm after strong wind. No injuries to report. @wfaa @wfaaweather — Jobin Panicker (@jobinpnews) March 3, 2023

North Texans began seeing scattered severe storms Thursday afternoon, which was followed by a greater risk of more widespread severe weather in the evening , according to the National Weather Service.

A tornado watch was in effect for much of North Texas but was allowed to expire early for Tarrant and Dallas counties and counties farther west.

Storm Reports

This map contains continuously updated storm reports and damage from the National Weather Service for the past 48 hours. Reports include tornado, wind storm and hail storm reports. The map also includes tornado reports for the past week and recent rainfall accumulations. Sources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Esri.

The first tornado warning of the day was issued for the Breckenridge and Caddo area in Stephens County until 4:30 p.m., when radar indicated possible rotation. Damage to trees and outbuildings was reported near the city of Necessity.

Another tornado warning was in effect until 5 p.m. for Hopkins County, Franklin County, Titus County and Red River County in northeastern Texas. At 4:33, weather spotters confirmed a tornado was located near Purley, about 11 miles north of Winnsboro, moving northeast at 45 mph. In Pickton, in Hopkins County, roof damage was reported to a house along Texas Highway 11 at FM 269. Downed trees and power lines also were reported.

Steve Fano, a spokesperson for the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said the biggest threat from severe weather would start late in the day when a line of storms packing large hail, damaging winds and possible tornadoes moved through the region.

Fano said the window for those more intense storms in the Fort Worth area was from 5 to 8 p.m., after which the storms moved farther east.

A Tornado Watch is in effect for the yellow shaded area until 10 PM this evening. Damaging winds up to 75 mph, large hail up to 3 inches, and a few tornadoes will all be possible as we head into this evening. #dfwwx #ctxwx #txwx — NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) March 2, 2023

The weather service had expanded the area that was at a Level 4 or moderate risk level to include most of North Texas . A Level 4 storm includes threats of baseball-size hail, tornadoes and wind gusts up to 75 mph , according to WFAA meteorologists.

No parts of the region were at a Level 5, which is the highest and rarest risk level.

Some isolated storms began popping up Thursday afternoon. Severe thunderstorm warnings were in effect for Wise, Cooke and Denton counties until 3:45 p.m., with warnings of large hail.

At 2:14 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located 7 miles southwest of Paradise, or 8 miles south of Bridgeport, moving northeast at 45 mph. Radar indicated the storm had hail up to the size of ping pong balls and 60 mph wind gusts.

At 2:12, a severe thunderstorm was located near Sanger, moving northeast at 45 mph with radar-indicated 60 mph wind gusts and half-dollar-size hail.

Very thick hail fog in extreme NW Denton county. 15 miles west if Sanger. @NWSFortWorth @TxStormChasers — Chad Casey (@WxFanaticCC) March 2, 2023

Palo Pinto County was under a warning until 5:30 p.m. A severe thunderstorm was located near Possum Kingdom State Park, about 20 miles south of Graham, moving east at 45 mph.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that he directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to prepare state emergency response resources .

“The State of Texas is fully prepared to assist local officials and emergency response personnel on the ground to keep our communities safe,” Abbott said in a statement. “We remain on standby to provide any additional resources that may be necessary over the course of this storm.”

Weather watches and warnings

A live data feed from the National Weather Service containing official weather warnings, watches, and advisory statements. Tap warning areas for more details. Sources: NOAA, National Weather Service, NOAA GeoPlatform and Esri.

Flight cancellations and delays

Stormy weather means flights were canceled and delayed out of North Texas airports.

Due to Thursday’s weather conditions and thunderstorms, there was a Traffic Management Program, or ground stop, in effect for some flights arriving to DFW Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center .

Nearly 160 flights leaving Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport had been canceled Thursday as of 5:30 p.m., about 15% of the day’s flight schedule. Meanwhile, more than 190 arrivals to DFW had been canceled, according to Flight Aware .

Nearly 50 departing flights to Dallas Love Field Airport had been canceled, about 12% of Thursday’s flight schedule. More than 50 arrivals were also canceled.

Across the country were more than 12,700 delays Thursday and more than 1,550 cancellations nationwide.

Most major airlines are waiving change fees for canceled or delayed flights. Find American Airlines travel notice page here , United Airlines weather advisory page here , and Southwest Airlines travel alerts here .

3-Day Storm Outlook

This map shows the 3-day weather outlook for storms by the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center. Sources: National Weather Service, Esri.

After-school activities canceled

Area school districts canceled after-school activities Thursday. Districts including Fort Worth, Arlington and Mansfield ISDs canceled all after-school activities for the day. See the full list here .

The Fort Worth school district is closely monitoring weather conditions and will maintain communication with the National Weather Service and local agencies, the district said in a statement. Any further updates will be shared via the Fort Worth ISD Mobile App, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the district’s website, and local news.

Remembering Fort Worth’s devastating 2000 tornado

The last time a major tornado hit Fort Worth was nearly 23 years ago this month, when an F2 twister destroyed parts of West Seventh Street and battered downtown. It was the first deadly tornado to hit the city in modern times.

Here are photos from that destructive storm, which also spawned a tornado in Arlington.

Weekend and next week forecast

Windy conditions will continue on Friday, especially during the morning hours with gusts between 35 and 45 mph possible, according to the weather service.

Friday will be sunny, with a high near 65 and a low around 45.

Saturday and Sunday should have clear skies with highs around 75 and lows in the 50s.

Thunderstorm chances will return by the middle of next week with the arrival of a strong cold front and upper level disturbance.

Current Temperatures

Current temperatures and weather data from NOAA weather stations updated hourly. Tap on the map for current weather conditions, including humidity, wind speed. and direction. Data provided by NOAA and Esri.

Star-Telegram staff writer Jenny Rudolph contributed to this report.

This story was originally published March 2, 2023, 9:54 AM.

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Watch CBS News

Early morning storm front brings hail, thunder showers; Rain forecast through Wednesday

March 5, 2023 / 10:26 AM / CBS/Bay City News Service

SAN FRANCISCO -- The thunder showers and hail that pelted the Bay Area early Sunday morning gave way to more scattered precipitation after the sun came up, but the rain will continue for the next several days.

National Weather Service forecast for Sunday for the greater San Francisco Bay Area calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms, with highs in the 50s. 

The heaviest of Sunday's rain arrived early when the organized front came through just before 1 a.m.  until around 4 a.m. that brought downpours, hail and lightning. There will be some organized storm cells moving through the Bay Area in the afternoon and evening Sunday, but they will become more numerous and intense on Monday as the center of the storm system passes through the region.

📡Radar update 1:35 AM - broader view showing the whole line of storms sweeping through the Bay Area and heading toward the Central Coast. #cawx — NWS Bay Area 🌉 (@NWSBayArea) March 5, 2023

A winter weather advisory is in effect in the East Bay Hills through 4 p.m. Sunday. Elevations above 2,300 feet are forecast to receive 2 to 5 inches of snow. Sunday night calls for more scattered showers with lows in the upper 30s and 40s.

The rain will continue into Tuesday and Wednesday morning, finally coming to an end by Thursday. The collective amount of rain forecast through midweek will not be enough to raise any flooding concerns, but there will be some downpours, particularly Monday afternoon and evening. 

The winds were much more intense during the early morning hours Sunday, weakening over the course of the day until Monday evening when wind speeds will drop to single digits. 

With cooler temperatures Monday evening, there will be isolated showers that could bring more snow at higher elevations. Temperatures will remain cold, with snow levels as low as 2,500 feet where there could be accumulations with a couple of inches of snow. Below that elevation, it won't accumulate much.

Another 3-4 feet of snow is coming in the Sierra with the snowfall only getting heavier over the next 36 hours. Morning lows will drop down to the low 30s with daytime highs in the low to mid 50s.

Featured Local Savings Oklahoma City

Severe Weather genric image graphic

Damaging storms bring high winds, hail, and tornadoes to Oklahoma

by: Kari King/KFOR

Posted: Feb 26, 2023 / 06:40 PM CST

Updated: Feb 28, 2023 / 04:08 PM CST

Update: 11:01 p.m.

Damage is being reported in Enid.

Update: 10:51 p.m

The storms are beginning to move into the eastern part of the state.

Update 10:34 p.m.

There is damage reported in and around Norman.

There is also damage reported in Oklahoma City. T

The Service King at 6501 W Reno has damage.

Image of storm damage

Update 10:31 p.m.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper confirms to KFOR substantial damage west of Cheyenne.

We do not have any reports of injuries at this time.

Update 10:21 p.m.

Damage is being reported in Norman.

Mike is estimated there have been 6-10 tornadoes have touched down since the storm moved into western Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service will do a damage assessment.

One of the 4Warn Storm Chasers was at the Goldsby exit along I-35 shortly after the storms blew through. Two semis were blown off the highway.

The first was picked up by the high winds and tossed into the ditch.

The driver of the second semi truck tried to stop but the winds ended up blowing that second semi off the roadway too.

We are told there were no serious injured.

Update: 9:50 p.m.

People in Meeker should seek shelter.

4Warn Storm Team Meteorologist Aaron Brackett is new Newalla and reports seeing multiple power flashes.

Strong storms continue to threaten Enid and Ponca City.

Oklahoma Weather Radar Weather Alerts Closings and Delays KFOR Skycam Network

Update 9:09 p.m

Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports a semi ws blown off the roadway and into the median. Both eastbound and westbound inside lanes of I-40 are partially blocked near mile marker 84 which is near Weatherford.

There are also reports of damage in Cheyenne.

Update 8:55 p.m.

There is a radar indicated tornado west of Minco.

Winds are very dangerous

People in Union City, Mustang, and Tuttle you should be taking precautions.

Update 8:52 p.m

Minco should be taking tornado precautions

Update: 8:47

Mike Morgan says radar indicates two tornadoes on the ground.

One west of Pocasset. Mike says winds are over 100 mph according to radar.

Sirens are going off in Mustang.

Update 8:34 p.m.

Folks in Binger should be taking tornado precautions.

Update 8:14 p.m.

Mike Morgan says there have been two February tornadoes touch down with this storm.

Update 8:05 p.m.

People in Gotebo, Carnegie, and Gracemont should be weather aware.

Update 7:57 p.m.

Chief Meteorologist Mike Morgan says radar indicates a tornado outside of Hobart.

Update: 7:49 p.m.

People in Hobart should be taking their tornado precautions.

Winds of 100 mph are expected.

Update: 7:34 p.m.

4Warn Storm Tracker Corey Inmon reports hail in Granite.

Update: 7:33 p.m.

The National Weather Service is reporting widespread wind gusts between 70 and 90 mph in southwest Oklahoma

UPDATE: 7:27 p.m.

A tornado has been confirmed west of Reed, Oklahoma.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An incredibly strong upper level disturbance is combining with increasing temperatures and humidity levels to bring a volatile line of storms Sunday evening.

Storms will then form into a broken line, and begin to race eastward at 60 to 70 mph. A large swath of damaging wind is likely with some of the gusts exceeding 80mph. A few reports of 100mph wind are possible.

4Warn Storm Team Trackers have clocked high winds as the front moved into Oklahoma from the Texas panhandle.

4WarnMe: Download our free weather app!

Be sure to have your mobile devices charged.

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Damaging winds, large hail, and an elevated tornado threat are possible.

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If your child will play baseball or softball this spring, you’ll need to stock up on appropriate clothing and equipment.

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Best smart home devices for older users, according …

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KOCO 5 News and Weather

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Parts of oklahoma at risk of severe storms, including strong tornadoes and hail.

Below is a running blog of updates on the severe storms moving into and across Oklahoma. Keep checking in throughout the day for the latest details.

reports of hail


The latest breaking updates, delivered straight to your email inbox.

Parts of Oklahoma could see waves of severe storms on Thursday with the threat of hail and tornadoes.

Below was a running blog of updates on the severe storms moving into and across Oklahoma. You can scroll down to see what happened Thursday. Click here for more coverage now that the weather event is over.

Open the video player above for the latest from the KOCO 5 First Alert Weather Team.

8 p.m. Thursday Update: On-and-off rain will remain in central Oklahoma, but there will not be a risk of severe weather in the area.

The tornado watch for Atoka and Bryan counties was canceled.

6:15 p.m. Thursday Update: Rain is expected to pick up intensity in the Oklahoma City metro area. A chance for severe storms and tornados continues in the southeast part of Oklahoma.

Watch the video player below to see Damon Lane break down the timeline.

5 p.m. Thursday Update: Heavy rain is expected to move north across the state into the Oklahoma City metro area. A risk for tornados is only expected in the northeast part of the state.

The tornado warning for Bryan and Atoka counties was canceled.

4:30 p.m. Thursday Update: A tornado warning was issued for Atoka County until 5:15 p.m. The tornado warning in Bryan County is continued until 5:15 p.m.

4:15 p.m. Thursday Update: A tornado warning was issued for Bryan County until 4:45 p.m.

4 p.m. Thursday Update: A flood advisory was issued for Coal and Hughes counties until 7:30 p.m.

1 p.m. Thursday Update: A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for parts of southern Oklahoma until 7 p.m. KOCO 5 Meteorologist Sabrina Bates says large hail and damaging wind gusts are possible.

12:15 p.m. Thursday Update: KOCO 5 Meteorologist Jonathan Conder says the further southeast you go, the higher the risk for severe storms is. Storms are expected to come out of Texas this afternoon, and the higher humidity in the Texoma could create more rotating storms.

Southeastern Oklahoma could see golf-ball-sized hail, and winds could reach 70-80 mph.

11:20 a.m. Thursday Update: KOCO 5 First Alert Chief Meteorologist Damon Lane says Oklahoma City will likely be severe-weather free Thursday, but the metro should see rain.

The severe weather risk really ramps up for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and into east Texas, southeast Oklahoma and Arkansas. Strong tornadoes are likely Thursday afternoon with a moderate risk in place for some areas.

10:55 a.m. Thursday Update: KOCO 5 Meteorologist Jonathan Conder says strong tornadoes are possible in Durant and places east of there. He also said they're possible across north Texas and into Arkansas.

The Oklahoma City metro is tornado-risk-free.

10:45 a.m. Thursday Update: Although the weather is quiet in the Oklahoma City metro, KOCO 5 Meteorologist Jonathan Conder says there’s rain near McLoud. He said that area is the peak area for lightning storms to start up.

The tornado risk for southeastern Oklahoma continues. Strong tornadoes are possible in the Texarkana area, and the southeastern part of the state could see damaging winds.

The Oklahoma City metro, however, could be clipped by hail with this round of severe storms.

9:15 a.m. Thursday Update: KOCO 5 Meteorologist Jonathan Conder says he's watching eastern Oklahoma in the next few hours for hail and a severe thunderstorm watch. The chance of a watch is 40% for parts of southeastern Oklahoma, including McAlester.

7 a.m. Thursday Update: KOCO 5 Meteorologist Jonathan Conder said the first wave is from 9 a.m. to noon that brings a hail threat from the Oklahoma City metro to northeastern Oklahoma.

A second wave is expected to hit southern Oklahoma ranging to near the OKC metro from noon to 3 p.m. as storms come across the Red River.

The third wave from 3-6 p.m., however, is expected to be the worst of the three for Oklahoma. Jonathan says the tornado risk for far southeastern Oklahoma could be pretty bad.

Along with the tornado risk, southeastern Oklahoma could see 2-inch hail and 70 mph winds.

Then, northwestern Oklahoma could see some snow late Thursday night and early Friday morning. Jonathan says the snowfall should be a quick dusting that will melt early in the morning.

Open the video player above to see when you'll see severe storms in your area.

Be sure to download the KOCO 5 App to receive customized weather alerts. You can watch our team coverage on the app, too.

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reports of hail

All about this icy form of precipitation

All About Hail: A Severe Weather Guide

Hail is just ice, right? Wrong!

Do you know how it forms? Or what size it has to be?

Keep reading this guide to explore everything there is to know about hail. Use the buttons below to skip to the section you’re most interested in, or give the whole guide a read. It’s up to you!

What Is Hail?

How Does Hail Form?

Hail Size & Other Hail Facts

Forecasting Hail

Hail Safety

👇 Keep Scrolling to Start Reading!👇

What is hail.

Red cloud icon with hail falling out of it in blue circle

This precipitation often accompanies thunderstorms. It can damage and destroy buildings, crops, machinery, and living things.

The National Weather Service defines severe hail as hail that is 1 inch or greater in diameter.

Hail vs. Sleet / Ice Pellets vs. Hail

Many confuse hail with sleet and ice pellets, but there is a difference based on size.

How big is sleet? Sleet refers to ice pellets with a diameter of less than 5 mm.

Ice pellets are raindrops that freeze before they hit the ground. You can use sleet and ice pellets interchangeably. These often accompany freezing rain.

The most important thing for you to remember is that sleet and ice pellets are smaller than 5 mm, while hail is 5 mm or larger .

Now that you have a better understanding of the size of hail, and the differences between it and ice pellets/sleet, it’s time we dive into the more intricate topics about this precipitation.

Back to Top ↑

It’s time to get into hailstorm science and answer a pressing weather question: “How does hail form?”

You can keep reading, or listen to our Senior Meteorologist, Chad Merrill, explain.

Hail formation starts with thunderstorms . The first two things that must be present are strong updrafts of warm air and downdrafts of cold air.

These strong currents of air are typical in Cumulonimbus clouds.

Anvil-shaped Cumulonimbus cloud

These clouds are the massive anvil or mushroom shaped clouds you see during thunderstorms. They can be over 65,000 feet tall!

In the Clouds…

the hail formation process | how hail forms | graphic

When it gets below freezing level (below 32F), these water droplets will turn into ice particles.

Once our water droplet-turned-ice particles make it to high altitudes within the clouds, they meet up with high concentrations of super-cooled water droplets.

Hailstone Layers

These super-cooled droplets then latch onto an ice particle’s surface. This forms multiple ice layers around it, creating larger hailstones.

The higher a water droplet travels into a cloud, the more super-cooled particles will latch on. A hailstone can also make multiple trips up and down a cloud. With each trip above freezing level, the hailstone will also grow with another ice layer.

As the hailstone gets larger and larger, it also gets heavier. At some point, gravity causes the stone to fall back down towards the Earth.

Layers of Ice

The way hail forms dictates what a hailstone looks like. Did you know that larger hail has alternating layers of clear and opaque ice?

This pattern happens thanks to irregular rates of freezing when the super-cooled water particles layer on. As the hailstone moves up and down in a cloud’s updrafts and downdrafts, it gathers different layers of ice.

When freezing occurs slowly in warmer temperatures, trapped air can escape. This produces clear ice.

When freezing occurs quickly in colder temperatures, the process traps the air and produces a layer of white ice.

red ruler icon in dark blue circle

As we’ve discussed, hail comes in different sizes. While it has to have a diameter larger than 5 mm, it can get much bigger.

In this section, we’ll go over:

A dark blue "1" in a red circle

While technically there is no such thing as “normal” or “abnormal” hail, most is less than 2 inches in diameter. When estimated hail is less than 2 inches, it can be anywhere in between the size of a pea and a golf ball.

Estimating Size

It’s often difficult to get an accurate measurement of hail diameter since it melts.

This is especially true when it’s falling, since no one wants to get hit with hail!

The National Weather Service uses a table to estimate hail sizes between 0.25 inch diameter and 4.5 inch diameter. This helps people estimate hail by sight rather than putting themselves in harm’s way.

NWS Size List

The National Weather Service uses the following object to help estimate hail size:

A red check mark with a transparent background

If the diameter of hail is an inch or larger, we consider it severe.

When it doubt, don’t go outside! Wait until the thunderstorm moves away before going outside to measure the size of hail.

Remember to trust all-clear signals from trusted outdoor alerting systems or organizations like the National Weather Service.

Biggest Hailstone on Record

So what is the biggest hail ever recorded?

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the largest all-around hailstone in the U.S. fell on July 23, 2010. Just how large was it?

That’s nearly the size of a volleyball! This monster hailstone fell in Vivian, South Dakota. You can look at the hail in the image below from our friends at the NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library .

The largest recorded hailstone fell on July 23, 2010 in Vivian South Dakota. This image shows the resident who found it measuring the circumference with a tape measure. The circumference was over 18 inches long!

The heaviest hailstone recorded worldwide fell in Gopalganj District, Bangladesh. The hailstone weighed in at 2.25 lbs and fell on April 14m, 1986.

The largest hail circumference ever officially measured was 18.74 inches. This hailstone fell in Aurora, Nebraska on June 22, 2003.

Hard-Hitting Hail Facts

What else do you need to know about hail before we jump into hailstorm prediction? We think the following hail facts are pretty interesting.

Interested in learning where and when hail typically happens?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a hail climatology map . This shows the probabilities of seeing hail in thunderstorms across the U.S. as the year unfolds.

You can also check out our weather map , Sferic Maps, to see where major storms are that could contain hail. This weather visualization tool also shows National Weather Service alerts and reports of hail.

Hail Forecasting

The more we talk about hail and how large it can be, the more we think about the damage it can cause.

A blue car hood with ping pong ball sized dents in it from hail

Hail of any size can cause damage, but severe hail (hail 1 inch diameter or greater) typically causes the most.

Another factor that determines how much damage hail can cause is the wind. Higher wind speeds mean more potential damage as the hail moves faster. Hail can damage cars, windows, aircrafts, crops, roofs, and more.

Since plants are very sensitive, even the smallest hailstones can cause a lot of damage to crops.

hail falling at a farm to show that hail can have a large impact on crops and agriculture

Another dangerous weather hazard is hail accumulation . Accumulating hailstorms can cover the ground in over 2 inches of hail. This can cause power outages by weighing down power lines and trees.

Flash flooding and mudslides are also a hazard in areas with steep terrain.

As we mentioned before, hailstorms cause over $1 billion in damages annually in the United States. The best ways to prevent damage are through hailstorm forecasting and hail suppression programs.

Detecting Hail With Radar

Forecasters have been using weather radar to observe and measure hail since the end of WWII in 1945.

The current generation of weather radar technology does not directly measure precipitation. Instead, it measures the energy reflected to the radar from whatever the radar is looking at. This can be hail, but also rain, snow, or even insects.

Forecasters then infer precipitation by the amount of returned energy to the radar and the location of the strong radar echoes in storms. Radar echoes are particularly important for detecting hail.

Forecasters look for areas of high reflectivity in the middle to upper levels of storms as a sign of large hail formation. They also look for signs of sustained updrafts that could keep hailstones aloft long enough to become large and cause damage once they fall to the ground.

The National Weather Service looks at dual-polarization radar technology to tell the difference between precipitation types and even determine hailstone size.

How to Forecast Hail with Radar

Hail often appears much larger than rain on a weather radar. Typical raindrops are 1-3 mm in diameter. Hail can be over 10 times that size!

Large hail also returns a lot of energy back to the radar.

Forecasters use computer algorithms to examine the radar data and calculate statistical forecasts of the probability of hail and if it is severe. They also find the probability of maximum size for the hailstones.

You can dive deeper into observing precipitation with NEXRAD radar on the Community Collaborative   rain, hail, & snow resource center.

How to Forecast Hail with Total Lightning

Dangeorus Thunderstorm Alerts over Russia

Hail forms in thunderstorms, so total lightning detection is a good way to forecast hail.

When a thunderstorm happens, there is lightning. But not all lightning hits the ground. In fact, a majority of all lightning strikes are in-cloud pulses.

Total lightning is the combination of in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and is a precursor to hail and other dangerous weather like tornadoes and torrential rains.

Supercell thunderstorms, in particular, have sustained updrafts that support large hail formation by repeatedly lifting the hailstones into the freezing air at the top of the cloud.

When we issue one of our Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts (powered by our total lightning network ) there is a good chance that large hail is present in the storm.

Lightning Weather Services in Contrail®

Did you know hail is a precipitation that often accompanies thunderstorms?  In-cloud lightning and severe convective storms typically indicate that extreme weather is near — from intense heavy rainfall and hail, to dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes and tornadoes.

Earth Networks’ sister company, OneRain The Rainfall Company, specializes in rainfall, water, and weather monitoring with an emphasis on accurate and reliable collection of rainfall and related hydro-meteorological data. One of OneRain’s most effective hydrological weather products is Lightning Weather Services in Contrail® , which is powered by Earth Networks’ lightning detection network. Lightning data by Earth Networks is available as an add-on in OneRain’s Contrail® Software , which is a situational awareness and decision support tool that helps those tasked with assessing hydro-meteorological hazard risks. With Lightning Weather Services in Contrail® , you can track dangerous storms that are likely to produce severe weather— including hail storms— and provide advance early warnings to manage your business operations and safety.

Forecasting Hail: The Bottom Line

Ok, so we got a little technical there.

So when meteorologists say that hail is in the forecast, what are they really talking about? They’re saying that they’ve observed deep moist convection along with these three basic ingredients:

Basically, there is no distinction between storms that do and do not produce hailstones, but forecasters can use tools like radar to detect hail and algorithms and total lightning detection to anticipate it.

If you know where severe weather is and when it’s coming you can protect yourself from damages and possible bodily harm. Can you imagine being outside when a 2 lb hailstone comes falling out of the sky?

Safety During Hailstorms

What can you do to stay safe during a hailstorm? It really depends where you are.


orange and blue horizontal arrow pointing right



Hail Suppression

Some countries and organizations rely on hail suppression to minimize damages to crops and infrastructure. Cloud seeding is a popular form of hail suppression.

Cloud seeding is using flares to create smaller particles of hail. The first step is to seed thunderstorms with billions of silver iodide smoke particles given off by the flares.

Then the flares act as artificial ice crystals that freeze up the super-cooled water drops in the storm’s updraft.

The end result is that the storm produces a greater amount of small, pebble-sized hailstones as opposed to a lesser amount of large, extremely damaging hailstones. These smaller hailstones cause less damage than the larger ones.

Learn More About Severe Weather

After reading this guide, you’re practically a hail expert!

There are more dangerous forms of weather other than hail, though. It’s time to dive into another severe weather guide to help increase your knowledge and overall preparedness.

Head over to our Weather 101 page to explore another topic.

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