Hailstone that hit Yuma County during tornado declared largest in Colorado records

A hailstone that hit Yuma County during Aug. 8’s wave of severe weather — including the strongest tornado ever recorded in Colorado — has officially broken the state record, climate officials announced Tuesday.

A large hailstone the size of a small hailstone? @ColoradoClimate has determined this 5.25″ diameter hailstone that fell Aug. 8 between Kirk and Idalia to be the new state record. State Climatologist @russ_schumacher & @NWSGoodland assessed the ice chunk & likely impact divot.  pic.twitter.com/pwkIOYPCSM

— Colorado State News (@ColoStateNews) August 16, 2023

The supercell thunderstorm brought two tornadoes to the area, along with a wave of abnormally large hailstones comparable to canned hams, National Weather Service meteorologists said Aug. 10.

As storm chaser Dan Fitts followed the developing tornadoes, he saw one of the hailstones land on Highway 36 around 7:30 p.m., about 8 miles east of Kirk. A photo posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, showed the hail with a 5.25 inch diameter.

Fell on Highway 36 about 8 miles ENE of Kirk, Colorado just as tornado was developing @nwsgoodland #cowx pic.twitter.com/7qsvGpSKiR

— Dan Fitts (@Dan_Fitts) August 9, 2023

The previous record was set by a hailstone that fell near Bethune in August of 2019, measuring 4.83 inches.

On Monday, state climatologist Russ Schumacher and a team from the Institute for Business and Home Safety Hail Study measured the hailstone and made a 3D model.

According to a tweet from the state climate center, the hail had melted to a diameter of 4.60 inches, just under the state record.

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The center said Fitts’ photo documented the original measurement well enough for the State Climate Extremes Committee to make the official record-breaking call.

Due to melting, by the time the climate center examined the hail stone, it was significantly under the 2019 record for volume and weight.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Zach Hiris, the number of reports to state NWS offices of hail between 1 and 5 inches this season, 776, has also broken the state record.

Hiris said part of the reason Colorado has seen such an influx of reports is that more people are out chasing severe weather and storms are hitting more densely populated areas.

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