Hail Storms 2011

Various Locations in the Central U.S. - May/June 2011

While chasing tornadoes in the U.S. we also encounter some very large hailstones.

The same types of supercell thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes also contain the same conditions that can create some very large hail. Intense, rotating updrafts carry raindrops up to levels where they freeze, then subsequent layers build up over time until the hail is too big to be held up by the updraft and eventually fall back to Earth.



Kansas Hailstone

Tulsa, Oklahoma hail


May 30, 2011 - Atkinson, Nebraska

Several tornado warned storms fired up in Nebraska on May 30th, and although we didn't see a tornado, we did encounter some huge hail that must've been over 4 inches in diameter. They were dropping all around us as we drove east of Atkinson and luckily, we didn't take any direct hits from the big ones (The local sheriff's police cruiser windshield was not so lucky).
When we doubled-back, we found some hailstones that were still measuring 3 1/2 inches, and this was after at least a half hour of melting. Unfortunately, this hail storm did have at least one fatality. Amongst the hail, we discovered a rabbit that had been killed by the hail. It was still warm on the underside when we found it.
The storms eventually congealed into a line and we gave up the chase for the night, settling down in O'Neil, Nebraska for the night.



3 1/2 inch hail stones unfortunately killed this rabbit.

Some of them were very spiky


Nebraska Hailstones