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Barrage of baseball-size hail destroys crops in southeast Europe

Saturday, May 28th 2022, 5:57 pm - Major hailstorms in eastern Europe led to extensive crop damage this week.

A major hailstorm shredded crops across parts of southeastern Europe this week, leaving some farmers to take a giant hit on this year’s harvest.

Hailstones as large as baseballs pelted a swath of central and southeastern Europe on Wednesday, May 25. The prolific hail in parts of Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary fell as supercell thunderstorms rolled across the region.

Europe Hailstorm

Tomas Pucik, a researcher at the European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL), tweeted a map of hail reports from the area, showing widespread reports of hail the size of golf balls (4.25 cm in diameter), tennis balls (6.5 cm), and even baseballs (7.5 cm).

The storms began in southeastern Austria, sliding east across portions of Slovenia and Croatia before moving into southern Hungary. Some of the most severe damage occurred in far northern Croatia near the Mur River.

Local news sources reported widespread agricultural damage as a result of the storm. Total Croatia News reported on Thursday that the hailstorm had destroyed about 40 percent of Croatia’s entire flower crop.

Croatian news outlet Dnevnik reports that the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Marija Vučković, toured the extensive hail damage the following day.

“Last night, the area of ​​Varaždin County was hit by a hailstorm that even the oldest do not remember,” Dnevnik quoted Vučković as saying. She also pledged aid to farmers and called for increased resilience in the face of climate change.

Hail begins to produce damage when the stones reach the size of nickels and quarters. Anything larger exponentially ratchets up the damage incurred to windows, roofs, and vehicles. Hailstones the size of golf balls or larger can pose a significant risk of injury or death in folks who are caught outside during the storm. Thankfully, local news reported no casualties from this round of storms.

Hail size board

Supercells capable of producing very large hail and strong tornadoes are common in and around Central Europe. Low-pressure systems swirling across Europe can pull warm, unstable air north from the Adriatic Sea, providing the instability and wind shear needed to produce these rotating thunderstorms.

Check out some of the visuals that folks in the region posted on social media, below.

Thumbnail courtesy of Tobias Hämmer via Pixabay.

With files from Total Croatia News and Dnevnik.hr

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