All hail a new record
August 3, 2022 3:50 PM   Subscribe

The Northern Hail Project (also on Twitter), is a "spinoff" of the Northern Tornadoes Project. It has announced the recovery of "A Canadian record-breaking hailstone [...] following a storm earlier this week near Markerville, Alta. The record-breaker weighs 292.71 grams, eclipsing the previous title holder – a hailstone weighing 290 grams, collected nearly 50 years ago in Cedoux, Sask. on July 31, 1973. With a diameter of 123 millimetres, the hailstone has a slightly larger span than a standard DVD (120 mm)." See also: "Grapefruit-sized hail" fell Monday in Alberta, and it may break a record.
posted by mandolin conspiracy (30 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
That is a lot of solid water to fall out of the sky in a single mass. I'm sure that same storm had a lot of hail that was smaller but unless it's pea-sized hail, it can all do really significant damage. I've been in a couple of bad hailstorms, and they've been horrible, as in full of horror.
posted by hippybear at 4:19 PM on August 3 [4 favorites]


So, back in the mid 70s, I was living in Winnipeg Canada. I went to lunch with a friend and we went to an A&W drive in. We were having lunch, under the drive in's covered shelter when a hail storm hit. Pretty much every car in the city got damaged (Autopac, govt insurance, paid for it back then). Anyways, last weekend I was driving home here in Wisconsin during a thunderstorm. People were pulled off to the shoulder of the interstate or ducked under bridges. The bangs from hail on my car were LOUD. No major damage to my car, but the next day a co-worker said his front lawn looked like it had snowed due to the hail.

I really don't want to get into another major hail event.
posted by baegucb at 4:50 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


What is terrifying is that the terminal velocity of a hailstone is roughly proportional to the square root of the diameter; these would have been in the ballpark of 48 m/s = 175 km/h = 110 km/h; this is 3 1/2 times faster than a more typical 1 cm hailstone, which is on the high end of pea-sized, approaching peanut-sized.

And the kinetic energy is proportional to the mass times the velocity squared; that means that the kinetic energy of a hailstone is proportional to the mass (since the velocity is squared in the energy calculation, but the terminal velocity has a square root, so those cancel each other out). And the mass increases as the cube of the radius, meaning that these hailstones had roughly 1,860 times the force of that pea/peanut sized 1 cm hailstone.
posted by Superilla at 5:00 PM on August 3 [7 favorites]


"...the hailstone has a slightly larger span than a standard DVD..."
I believe this is actually known in the atmospheric sciences community as 'hail the size of canned hams' -- though I can't find any official sources to corroborate.
posted by theory at 5:40 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


It may have been the largest, but it certainly wasn't the best looking hailstone. Yes, I'm looking at you Dmax 105mm.

(but seriously those big old hailstones can stay the f*** away from my recently installed solar panels ... in Alberta)
posted by piyushnz at 7:03 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


Glad I’m reading this after I raced home from work just ahead of a storm on my motorcycle this evening.
posted by rodlymight at 7:36 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


it certainly wasn't the best looking hailstone

"Canada's Hottest Hailstone" is a weird contradiction in terms, no?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:48 PM on August 3


"Canada's Hottest Hailstone" is a weird contradiction in terms, no?

It could be a best-selling calendar, however.
posted by hippybear at 7:57 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


What is terrifying is that the terminal velocity of a hailstone is roughly proportional to the square root of the diameter; these would have been in the ballpark of 48 m/s = 175 km/h = 110 km/h; this is 3 1/2 times faster than a more typical 1 cm hailstone, which is on the high end of pea-sized, approaching peanut-sized.

I was once ambushed by a brutal Alberta hailstorm while I was out on my bike. While I was running to cover I caught a hailstone on the back of my helmet that was so large, and moving so fast, that it put a thumbprint-sized dent in my helmet and actually blacked out my vision for a moment. The hailstone disintegrated so I have no idea how big it was, but I'm pretty sure the record holder would have beheaded me. Alberta hail, man, it's no joke.
posted by ZaphodB at 8:13 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Not just no, but, hail no!

But seriously 2-3 years ago, my friend who lives in Colorado Springs, had a foot of hail in her town. But the next day, they had sheet hail, I had never even heard of this. But it was like high school lunch trays, two-three inches thick whirling out of the sky, breaking up roofs.
posted by Oyéah at 8:21 PM on August 3 [3 favorites]


What I'm most shocked by is that I never heard of Markerville in 20 years of growing up in Alberta.

I see from Google Maps that they have a Creamery Museum.

Luckily no-one got creamed by that hailstone, &cetera...
posted by clawsoon at 10:07 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


This video has "baseball sized hail" recorded while in a car. It is horrifying.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 10:41 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


they had sheet hail, I had never even heard of this. But it was like high school lunch trays, two-three inches thick whirling out of the sky, breaking up roofs.

dear god more kinds of weather to be afraid of
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:05 AM on August 4 [5 favorites]


Did anybody else read the last linked article and notice that the US record is 879 grams?!?! That is nearly two pounds.
posted by Flock of Cynthiabirds at 1:38 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


I see Alberta comes up a few times already in the comments above... the last time I was there I got caught in a hailstorm (of unexceptionally sized hail, it must be said). The odd thing, though, was it was sunny and eleven degrees* at the time.

*51 Fahrenheit for those of you reading from 1968.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:33 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


I believe this is actually known in the atmospheric sciences community as 'hail the size of canned hams' -- though I can't find any official sources to corroborate.

I’m pretty sure that particular measurement originated during a local newscast in Indianapolis, by the station weatherman, one David Letterman.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:07 AM on August 4


I grew up in Colorado Springs, and it hailed a lot there, but I never saw or heard of sheet hail. Must be a Global Warming driven intensification.

When I was in grade school I heard a particularly intense hail storm hit the roof, went to the back door to watch, and had a sudden impulse to see what it would be like to run through it to the garage ~75 ft. away.

It stung pretty badly and it was thrilling, but a little over halfway there I heard a tremendously loud THOCK!, saw a very bright white light followed by darkness, and came back to awareness on hands and skinned up knees, probably only seconds later. I got up and ran the rest of the way, and when I ran back I put both hands on top of my head.
posted by jamjam at 5:45 AM on August 4 [3 favorites]


I've tried googling sheet hail and I can't find anything about it. All hail I've found is spherical in nature. Any better description or a better name for it? I'm really curious about how hail would form in sheets.
posted by geoff. at 5:54 AM on August 4


After I closed my iPad less than a minute ago, it suddenly crossed my mind that maybe if you had very rapidly spinning roughly spherical stones to start with, maybe they would become sheet like as they grew because new liquid condensate would be forced to the equator by spin.

If that were to be the mechanism, you might need practically tornadic conditions.

So this was not originally meant as an answer to your question, geoff., but I’m glad you asked it.
posted by jamjam at 6:05 AM on August 4


'Berta Bludgers!
posted by schyler523 at 6:22 AM on August 4


We got caught in a hailstorm with golf ball sized hail near Ottawa 2 weeks ago while on a canoe trip. Luckily we were near our van and sheltered in there, but our friends had to hide under their canoe until we drove over and rescued them. It was frightening, and our vehicles got dented up. I can’t imagine grapefruit sized hail.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:02 AM on August 4


Any better description or a better name for it?

"Guillotine rain" has a certain je ne sais quoi.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:24 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


Coffeyville hail stone - 1970 My dad talks about seeing these crash through windshields.
posted by stltony at 11:06 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


I've never seen grapefruit sized hail, but baseball sized hail - a few times. We are lucky because we have an older house (for once) and it used to have heavy shingles made of wood, so our roof decking is thick - but on newer houses, it punched through the shingles, through the decking, through the insulation, and into rooms. And through skylights. It also put holes in my wooden fence.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:20 PM on August 4


Mother Nature throwing rocks down upon you from several thousand feet is... I mean, how do I even describe this? It's like the very air itself has decided to pummel you into punishment simply for existing along its path.
posted by hippybear at 4:43 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


It stung pretty badly and it was thrilling, but a little over halfway there I heard a tremendously loud THOCK!, saw a very bright white light followed by darkness

This is what kids had to do for thrills before they invented paint huffing.
posted by clawsoon at 5:28 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


early video games as real life: "can you dodge the rocks falling from the sky and get to safety?"
posted by hippybear at 5:50 PM on August 4


Can anyone come up with an estimate of the consistent speed of the updraft wind that would keep something like this afloat for a long enough for a hail stone this large to form?
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:26 AM on August 5


an anyone come up with an estimate of the consistent speed of the updraft wind

I can't, but I can say by way of snarky aside that consistent wind speed is not something I associate with an Alberta thunderstorm.
posted by clawsoon at 9:01 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Can anyone come up with an estimate of the consistent speed of the updraft wind that would keep something like this afloat for a long enough for a hail stone this large to form?

This story from 2019 claims to have a chart that it doesn't have, but it does say that the updraft speeds needed to generate the hailstone pictured in the article would have needed to be over 110mph, or 9860ft/minute.
posted by hippybear at 7:22 PM on August 9


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