Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hail - It's in Our Name

CoCoRaHS' annual Hail Week is coming to a close. If you have been following this week's messages of the day you have seen how to measure hail, report it, and how to make a hail pad. Hail is a fascinating phenomena and there is a lot of information available if you want to learn more about it. The CoCoRaHS Hail page  has some information, and you can find a lot more information at Living With Weather- Hail on the Midwestern Regional Climate Center website.

This year's hail season was off to an early start with quite a few large hail events from late February on. Normally probabilities for significant hail very low at the end of February and only begin to ramp up in mid-March to early April. Here are the climatological probabilities for significant hail from the the NOAA Storm Prediction Center. The center of the high probabilities moves north through April and May, reaching a peak in late May. By early August probabilities are diminished and continue to diminish into early fall.

This year, hail has been frequent. So far CoCoRaHS observers have submitted hail reports on 65 of 102 days so far this year,just slightly ahead of last year's pace.  This map is a compilation of hail reports for the year to date from the Storm Prediction Center.

There have been some impressive and damaging storms so far this spring. What's caught my attention are the number of significant hail events (hail 2 inches or more) that have been reported.

Hail photo credit Keri Bentley

 More baseballs in Texas on March 26.

Hail in Double Oak, TX on March 26.
Credit: @WxChaserBryan on Twitter

A nice assortment of hail sizes in eastern Illinois on March 20 .

Finally, not all hail falls as nice round balls. Here is a photo of some spiked hail that fell in Bolivar, TN on March 27.

Hail in Bolivar, TN on March 27.
Photo by Cynthia Thrasher Dickerson

Measuring hail is a core mission of CoCoRaHS, and the separate hail reports on the CoCoRaHS web site allow you to submit your hail information. There are a few things you need to know before measuring hail, and you can find that information in our "Measuring Hail" training animation. Here is a hail size reference and measuring guide you can download, print, and laminate for use. The rule on the bottom is to scale and fits on a 3x5 card. Make multiple copies and keep one at home, in the car, or at work. 

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