Look, we get it. Cocktails are amazing. But if a record-breaking, 16 centimeter (6.4 inch) chunk of ice falls from the sky near your home, please at least wait until it can be verified before you turn it into a delicious margarita.
Unfortunately for Texas, one household didn’t quite get the memo. After a gargantuan hailstone dropped during an unprecedented storm in Hondo, Texas, on April 28, the finders merely uploaded photos to social media before quickly getting to work making cocktails with it. Meteorologists on Twitter then used impressive technology to analyze its size from just a few images and a quarter for reference that was laid nearby. They discovered it was the largest to have ever fallen in Texas at around 16 centimeters (6.27–6.57 inches). But before it could be verified by the National Weather Service, they were informed the lump of ice was already consumed by margarita-lovers, and the hailstone will never claim its deserved title.
Impressively, the title was still to be claimed by a hailstone that fell during the same supercell storm. Another large hailstone fell around Hondo at the same time and was bagged and put straight in the freezer for verification. Upon inspection by weather officials, it was announced to be the largest hailstone to ever have landed in Texas, weighing in at a gigantic 0.57 kilograms (1.26 pounds) and measuring 16.2 centimeters (6.4 inches) in diameter. For reference, a ten-pin bowling ball is 21.6 centimeters (8.5 inches) in diameter, so this solid lump of ice traveling at over 161 kilometers per hour (100 miles per hour) could certainly do some damage and explains why hail during supercell storms is taken so seriously.
The weight and measurements were taken by 3D analysis and a formal weighing procedure, ensuring that the data is fully validated and compared against state history before such a prestigious title could be awarded.
The hailstones fell as part of a series of multiple supercell storms that moved from Del Rio to San Antonio, dropping what appears to be half of an Ice Age in the process. It continued to grow and damage urban areas in its path, and eventually began dropping the record-breaking chunks of ice.
All the information on the massive hailstones was released in a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the NWS.
So, how does this new hailstone match up against the all-time world greats? According to record, the largest hailstone ever verified fell near Vivian, South Dakota, and had a diameter of 20.3 centimeters (8 inches). In true hailstone fashion, the largest hailstone ever may have fallen in Argentina in 2018, but was not preserved before it could be verified, so we may never know.