(COLORADO) — At 7:22 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, a tornadic thunderstorm dropped what may have been a new state record for Colorado’s largest hailstone.
Dan Fitts, well known in the storm-chasing community for his encounters with hail, posted a photo of his potentially record-breaking hailstone on Tuesday evening. He also included a measuring device right next to it for accuracy.
The stone was measured at 5.25 inches in diameter and fell on Highway 36, which is north of Burlington on I-70 in Eastern Colorado, and roughly 20 miles to the east, is the state line for Kansas.
Recent data shows that the previous record for the largest hailstone in Colorado was officially measured at 4.83 inches, which fell on Aug. 13, 2019 – almost exactly four years ago. That hailstone fell in Bethune, Colorado which, perhaps even more coincidental, is roughly only 25 miles away from where the new hailstone fell on Tuesday evening.
Here is the official NWS Goodland post, which shared their findings in 2019.
What makes the hailstone that Dan Fitts found that much more amazing, is that its size was essentially off the charts for standardized hail measurements from the National Weather Service.
Pictured below are size comparisons commonly used to relate hailstone diameters with everyday objects:
The fact that Dan’s hailstone was measured in at 5.25 inches is astounding – and if it holds true – it will actually be even larger than DVD size (4.75 inches).
It’s important to reiterate though, that these are all preliminary numbers and official findings from the National Weather Service have yet to be released.
If you’re curious about what the radar looked like at the time of the report, a screenshot is posted below. One of the more interesting visuals involving this particular supercell thunderstorm is the fairly distinct ‘hook echo’ displayed right on top of where Dan’s report came in.
A hook echo is one of the most distinctive features commonly found on radar scans that often prelude tornado development. This thunderstorm, on Tuesday, did indeed produce several tornadoes that afternoon/evening.