Session 11B.1 Record hail event -- Examination of the Aurora, Nebraska supercell of 22 June 2003

Wednesday, 6 October 2004: 4:30 PM
Jared L. Guyer, NOAA/NWS, Norman, OK; and R. Ewald

Presentation PDF (2.0 MB)

During the late afternoon hours of 22 June 2003, thunderstorms developed across central Nebraska and quickly became severe in an environment favorable for supercell thunderstorms. The region was affected by tornadoes, destructive hail, and historical flooding on this day.

In particular, a supercell thunderstorm moved across the community of Aurora, Nebraska, producing extremely large hail and a brief tornado. The largest hailstone measured 7.0 inches in diameter, and 18.75 inches in circumference. This size exceeded the previous record of the Coffeyville, Kansas hailstone of 3 September 1970. In accordance with the National Climatic Data Center's (NCDC) Climate Extremes Committee, the Aurora, Nebraska hailstone of 22 June 2003 is now officially recognized as the largest hailstone, in terms of diameter and circumference, in United States history.

In addition to an interrogation of the WSR-88D data, this study will focus on the synoptic and mesoscale environment that produced the record size hail in Aurora, Nebraska. Comparisons will also be made to other nearby supercell storms that were much less prolific hail producers, but spawned multiple tornadoes.

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