3 amusing facts about hailstorms

May 4, 2017 7:46 pm Last Updated: May 4, 2017 7:46 pm

1. Hailstorms can be extremely deadly… and change the course of history

A hailstorm during the Hundred Years War killed an estimated 1,000 English soldiers, according to History.com. That day, April 13, 1360, has since been known as Black Monday. The storm killed two of the English commanders and was so devastating that many saw it as a sign from God. As a result, King Edward III felt forced to sign a peace treaty with France, renouncing all claims to the French crown.


King Edward III (Source: Wikipedia)

More recently, hailstorm fatality records were set in India, where people where 246 people were killed in a single storm in 1988, China, where 200 people were killed in a single storm in 1932, and Bangladesh, where 92 people were killed in a single storm in 1986.

2. Hailstones can be incredibly large


Record setting hailstone found in South Dakota in 2010. (Source: NWS)

Although most hailstorms produce small to midsize pellets, certain conditions can lead to incredibly large hailstones. The largest recorded hail stone was found in Bangladesh in 1986 and weighed an astonishing 2.25 pounds, according to the National Weather Service. In the United States, the largest hailstone officially measured was almost eight inches in diameter. It came down during a hailstorm in South Dakota in 2010.

3. Hailstorms are quite common in warmer climates

Kenya-Tealand-Near-Kericho-2012
Kericho, Kenya (By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen via Wikimedia Commons)

Although hail is an icy phenomenon, it is unlikely to happen in colder climates. In fact, the one place on earth where it hails almost every three days is… in Africa! It hails on average 132 days per year in Kericho, Kenya, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Kericho is one of the main tea producing regions in the world. The frequency of the hail storms is attributed to the farming activity there, since the dust particles swept up by the agricultural work there can become nuclei for hailstones.