Record-breaking hailstone in Alabama storms on March 19

Record-breaking hailstone in Alabama storms on March 19

(WMC) - The Spring severe weather season was off to a fast start on March 19 as a cluster of supercell thunderstorms moved through the Tennessee Valley of north Alabama. Numerous tornadoes touched down doing significant damage but thankfully, no deaths occurred.

The other major aspect of these storms was large, damaging hail. The hail ranged from baseball to grapefruit-sized. Strong updrafts with vertical wind speeds up to 185 mph allowed the hail to remain suspended aloft for a long time, which aided in the large growth.

One of the largest hailstones found was by Craig Mann, a reporter with The Cullman Tribune in Cullman, AL 45 minutes north of Birmingham. He preserved a very large hailstone in his freezer. On Wednesday, March 21 meteorologists with the NWS Huntsville forecast office met with Craig Mann to take an official measurement of the hailstone. Check out some of their photos.

The hailstone measured 5.25 inches in peak width, with a circumference of 13.75 inches, and weighed 8.9 ounces. It caused extensive damage to property, especially vehicles. There were even small craters in the ground in grassy areas where the hail landed.

There is not an official record hail size for the state of Alabama, but the largest entry found in Storm Data was 4.25 inches. NWS Huntsville has sent these measurements to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) to verify and make this information official.

If found to be official, this hailstone will be marked as the largest hailstone recorded in the state of Alabama. Photos and information courtesy of the National Weather Service in Huntsville.

Spencer Denton
WMC Action News 5 Meteorologist
First Alert Storm Tracking Team
Facebook: Meteorologist Spencer Denton
Twitter: @spencerstorm5

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