Hailstone from April storm becomes Texas’ largest on record

Weather Blog

(KXAN) — On April 28, a supercell thunderstorm with a history of producing large hail and an EF-1 tornado dropped a record-setting hailstone in south Texas near Hondo.

The State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) met on May 12 to verify and validate observations related to the hailstone. The SCEC reviewed the observational and meteorological evidence, the means and method of measurement, and previously documented stones.

They unanimously agreed that the Hondo hailstone would set the inaugural SCEC record for Texas in four metrics: hailstone diameter, mass/weight, volume, and circumference.

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) determined the following dimensions for the hailstone:

Hailstone Diameter: 6.416 inches
Hailstone Weight: 1.26 pounds
Hailstone Volume: 40.239 cubic inches
Hailstone Circumference: 19.730 inches
(at the maximum cross-sectional diameter)

However, an initial photograph shows the hailstone being slightly larger when it was first collected compared to when it was officially measured eight days later on May 6. This is because the person who found the record hailstone put it in a freezer rather than in a holding container, allowing it to partially melt.

Amazingly, a potentially bigger hailstone reported to local media was never measured with a ruler, but was estimated to be between 6 to 7 inches in diameter. According to the person who shared the images, it was ultimately used for margaritas. Frozen or on the rocks, we don’t know.

Additional images of hail shared to local media showed rulers with measurements of 5 to 6 inches in diameter, but NWS Austin-San Antonio has been unable to verify the validity of these hailstones, the time they fell, or their location.

Large hailstones from Hondo, TX on April 28, 2021. Picture courtesy of Paulette Schlessiger Pyron and Amber Schlessiger.

Other 3 to 4 inch hailstones were reported throughout the region as well.

Baseball-sized hail from storms near D’Hanis, TX on April 28, 2021. Picture courtesy of Miles Langfeld.

Straight-winds estimated between 65-110 mph caused additional damage along with a reported EF-1 tornado. The combination of high winds and large hail produced extensive damage in Hondo and along U.S. Highway 90.

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