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Eastern Colorado’s 5.25-inch hailstone from last week ‘likely’ the largest on state record, NWS says

The hailstone fell 8 miles east-northeast of Kirk in Yuma County on Aug. 8
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Posted at 2:29 PM, Aug 14, 2023

DENVER – A hailstone that fell in Yuma County last week is likely the largest-ever to have fallen from the sky in recorded Colorado history.

The 5.25-inch hailstone (pictured above) dropped from the sky at around 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 8 near Highway 36 between Kirk and Idalia, according to National Weather Service officials in Goodland, Kan.

By the time the Colorado State University Climate Center and members of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) visited the NWS office in Goodland, however, the hailstone had already melted some and was measured at 4.608 inches in diameter, 11.18 inches at its longest axis circumference and weighed 206.9 grams (7.29 oz).

While the final determination of its size will be made by members of the State Climate Extremes Committee at a later date, "we expect that the original photo showing the hailstone with a diameter of 5.25” will be established as the new record," said state climatologist Russ Schumacher in an email to Denver7 late Monday afternoon.

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A 5.25-inch hailstone dropped from the sky 8 ENE of Kirk along Highway 36. It was measured at 4.608 inches by the time it had made it to the NWS offices in Goodland, Kan., according to weather service officials.

If confirmed, it will likely beat the previous record set in August 2019 north of Bethune in Kit Carson County by about half an inch.

Monday’s preliminary measurements come less than a week after weather service officials said not only have the number of severe weather reports gone up in Colorado compared to previous years, but so has the number of very large hailstones reported across the state in 2023.

On Friday, NWS Boulder officials said Colorado broke the record for the number of reports for hailstones between 1 and 5 inches in diameter going back to at least 2005.

The record-breaking hail season is likely “due to the fact that there's just a lot more people out there chasing storms, and the weather service has made it a priority to get reports from the storm chasers as well,” according to Robert Kleyla, a lead meteorologist at the NWS in Boulder, who also attributed the number of hail reports to the fact that severe weather has occurred in heavily populated areas, such as Colorado Springs, where very large hail has fallen this summer.

One thing weather scientists can say with certainty? The cost of repairs from hailstone damage will continue going up.

"Even if the storms themselves aren't changing all that much, we're gonna continue to see rises in impact and damage from hail because there's more stuff out there to be hit," said Schumacher as he explained how the growing Colorado population will mean an increase in the the price for hail damage repair - and not just for homeowners.

"We're looking at... huge impacts on agriculture in eastern Colorado because one hailstone at one big hailstorm can take out a lot of crops," he told Denver7 via Zoom.

Back in late June, Schumacher reported “possibly the biggest set of hailstorms on a single day in state history, and most of it late at night,” when nearly a dozen reports of baseball-sized hail and four reports of softball-sized hail were tallied by weather service officials.

The last time the NWS received multiple reports of hail over three inches in diameter on a single day was June 10, 2010, when four reports came in that day, according to Schumacher.

Eastern Colorado’s 5.25-inch hailstone from last week ‘likely’ the largest on state record, NWS says

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