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30 Apr, 2020 10:16

Hail no! ‘Gargantuan’ ice missiles from SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM can smash through house roofs

Hail no! ‘Gargantuan’ ice missiles from SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORM can smash through house roofs

Fresh research has shed light on enormous hailstones that are so big that they can burst through the roofs of houses. Scientists have had to create a new category to describe the lethal weather phenomenon – gargantuan hail.

Boffins have just released a study on an extraordinary supercell thunderstorm that battered the Argentinian city of Villa Carlos Paz in 2018. The violent tempest left residents of the heavily populated town running for cover as they were bombarded by massive hailstones that left a trail of destruction in their wake.

As the storm evolved, residents began posting photos and videos of the freak hail on social media, allowing the experts to run an unprecedented study on the bizarre occurrence.

Amazingly, the team found that one hailstone that assaulted the town measured between 7.4 and 9.3 inches across, likely making it a new world record. The current record belongs to a hailstone that measured eight inches across, about the size of a volleyball, that fell in South Dakota in 2010.

“It's incredible,” said Matthew Kumjian, associate professor in the Department of Meteorology and Atmosphere Science at Penn State. “This is the extreme upper end of what you'd expect from hail.”

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Kumjian explained that hail of this size can cause serious damage and his team has proposed that hail larger than six inches should be classified as ‘gargantuan’.

“In some rare cases, six-inch hail has actually gone through roofs and multiple floors in houses. We'd like to help mitigate the impacts on life and property, to help anticipate these kinds of events,” he said.

The supercell storm’s deep rotating updrafts had the effect of holding the hailstones in sub-zero temperatures high in the atmosphere. This allowed them to grow into miniature ice missiles that then blasted the town in the remarkable weather assault.

The study notes that gargantuan hail may actually be more common than previously believed. As if we didn’t have enough to be worrying about right now.

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