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Severe Weather Season in Northern Colorado – How to Measure Your Hailstone

record South Dakota hailstone from 201
Associated Images/Colorado State University

I remember when I was a kid we had a hailstorm of Biblical proportions. The hailstones were so big they were breaking car windows. My dad saved one of those hailstones and kept it in the freezer for years. If you visited the Harding household, you were forced to look at Dad’s “softball-sized” hailstone. Thanks to freezer frost the gigantic chunk of ice even seemed to grow over the years. I don’t know if it really was as big as a softball, but the folks at CSU’s State Climatologist’s Office could tell you.

According to a press release from CSU:

Colorado State University State Climatologist Nolan Doesken can list at least 18 separate reports of hail stones as large as 4.5 inches in diameter, but few have been officially confirmed. His office is now officially tracking these statistics.

Doesken’s Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State, working in tandem with the four National Weather Service offices that serve Colorado (Boulder, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Goodland, Kan.), have developed procedures for documenting hailstones including how to get a good photo, measure the maximum diameter and circumference, preserve the stone and contact appropriate officials.

Guide for hailstone size (diameter measurement listed)


  • Ping pong ball – 1.5 inches
  • Golf ball –1.75 inches
  • Tennis ball – 2.5 inches
  • Baseball – 2.75 inches
  • Hockey puck – 3 inches
  • Softball – 4 inches
  • Grapefruit – 4.5 inches
  • CD/DVD – 4.75 inches

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