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Huge, 16-centimetre hailstone measured in Australia, new record for the country

Wednesday, October 20th 2021, 5:06 pm - The gargantuan stone broke a record that had been set only last year in the same state.

Violent thunderstorms in Australia have produced the country's largest hailstone on record – around a year after the previous record was set.

Several photos emerged on social media of giant hailstones produced by the storms in Yarlboroo, in the central part of the state of Queensland, on October 19th. After investigating, the country's Bureau of Meteorology confirmed that the largest were up to 16 cm in length.

"The atmosphere was extremely unstable, which allowed hail to continue growing before gravity forced it to the ground," the bureau said on its Twitter feed.

The hailstorm left numerous shattered windows and damaged vehicles in the area, according to Sky News.

READ MORE: The science behind Canada's 'Hail Alley'

The last such record in Australia was around 14 cm, set in a late October storm last year.

Hail is formed from water droplets that have been carried into the frigid upper atmosphere by thunderstorm updrafts, freezing as they go and growing in size as they collide with other water droplets. They are a regular feature of thunderstorms, and as the Australian storms show, can grow to very large sizes – and weigh a fair bit as well.

A stone that fell in 2010 in Vivian, South Dakota, is the semi-official world's largest on record at around 20 cm, but it recently faced some competition from a storm in Argentina in 2018, that produced stones as much as 23 cm across.

Canada's largest hailstone is said to have fallen in Cedoux, Sask., in 1973, weighing in at 290 grams, or about 10 ounces. That is quite a bit less than the heaviest on record, a stone measured in Bangladesh in 1986 that weighed an estimated 2.25 pounds (a little more than a kilogram).


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