New European hail record set as Italy witnesses second record-breaking hailstone in less than a week

New European hail record set as Italy witnesses second record-breaking hailstone in less than a week f

Europe’s record for the largest hailstone has been broken again within a mere five days as a massive 19 cm (7.48 inches) hailstone was confirmed in Azzano Decimo, Italy, just 1.3 cm (0.52 inches) smaller than the world record.

A new European hailstone record has been set in Azzano Decimo, Italy, with a remarkable 19 cm (7.48 inches) hailstone, superseding the previous record by 3 cm (1.18 inches). This milestone comes only five days after Italy set the previous European record with a 16 cm (6.29 inches) hailstone in Carmignano di Brenta, the European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL) reports.

At around 23:00 LT on July 24, 2023, the small town of Azzano Decimo was hit by giant hail, resulting in the discovery of this record-breaking specimen. After meticulous examination of numerous reports and photographs, specialists from the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD) confirmed the 19 cm (7.58 inches) diameter of the hailstone.

This giant hailstone is very close to the world record, a hailstone with a diameter of 20.3 cm (8.0 inches) found in Vivian, South Dakota, on July 23, 2010.

The Vivian hailstone had an impressive circumference of 147.3 cm (8.625 inches) and weighed an astounding 0.88 km (1.9375 pounds). This hailstone smashed the previous United States hail size records for diameter (17.8 cm / 7.0 inches on June 22, 2003, in Aurora, NE) and weight (0.76 kg / 1.67 pounds on September 3, 1970, in Coffeyville, KS). However, the Aurora, Nebraska hailstone retained the record for circumference (47.6 cm / 18.75 inches).

The Azzano Decimo hailstone was produced during the second violent thunderstorm outbreak affecting northern Italy within a week. The storms produced destructive tornadoes – never seen in northern Italy before, multiple accounts of giant hail, and claimed the lives of at least 2 people.

The frequent, large hail events in Northern Italy align with the research conducted by ESSL that indicates a significant increase in the frequency of large hail in this region compared to other parts of Europe over recent decades.

The ESSL expressed their gratitude to local partners such as Pretemp – Previsione Temporali in Italy, and hail reporters for their invaluable collaboration and contributions to the ESWD. These partnerships and collective efforts play a critical role in the ongoing monitoring and understanding of severe weather phenomena across Europe.


1 European hail record broken again in mere 5 days: 19cm hailstone confirmed in Italy – ESSL (FB) – July 25, 2023

2 Record Setting Hail Event in Vivian, South Dakota on July 23, 2010 – NOAA/NWS – Accessed July 25, 2023

3 Violent thunderstorms spawn unprecedented tornadoes, produce giant hail in Italy – The Watchers – July 25, 2023

Featured image credit: ESSL/Tornadoes in Italia, Marilena Tonin


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