All images and text © copyright Gene Moore
unless otherwise indicated

Batter Up!

This large hailstone fell from a tornadic supercell northeast of Breckenridge, TX. The stones left a path miles wide littered with three to four and one half inch stones. The hail fell from a dark cloud base to the south of a developing mesocyclone. No rain or thunder occurred in the immediate area while the stones were coming down.Further to the northeast more large stones fell blocking chase crews from the University of Oklahoma from reaching the tornado.

4 inch diameter hail

The supercell maintained it's tornado secrets as our camera jammed after punching the hail core. Deciding not to repair the camera during the rain of "gorilla hail" we make a hasty retreat. This photograph was taken just after the run back south. Taking my time to focus carefully my chase partner that day commented "hurry and take the #%#&!!\^ picture, this thing is freezing my hand."

All Shapes And Sizes

A University of Oklahoma storm chaser holds a handful of stones that fell from a supercell thunderstorm near Enid, Oklahoma during the spring of 1990. This storm went on to produce a tornado that struck Stillwater, Oklahoma at dusk that evening. The many chase crews that were following the storm broke off for new activity further south, missing the late day tornado.

A handfull of different stones

Note the irregular shape of some of the stones. One on the left is elongated with small spikes, and others that fell that day were jagged. Near this location a particularly large stone was dug out of the mud; it measured five inches in diameter; although, that is a big chunk of ice the largest stone fell at Coffeyville, Kansas in 1970 and measured just under seven inches in diameter. I was there, and had an old Polaroid camera, but was so busy watching the storm I forgot about taking pictures.

hail damage

Hail Damage

Hail about an inch larger than these stones broke this windshield. Chasers have witnessed golf ball sized stones about this diameter not break glass. It depends on the hardness of the stones and the angle of the impact. Occasionally a motorist can get lucky and get hit with a large soft stone when temperatures aloft are warmer. The soft stones crack apart absorbing the impact. In this case the stones were rock hard.