Author: Mary Knapp

Since hail is a form of frozen precipitation, National Weather Service guidelines call for it to be reported in the ‘snow’ column. That column on the reporting form is actually labelled “snow, ice pellets, hail” and is reported in inches to the nearest tenth. Because of that directive it can be challenging to separate hail events from snow events, particularly in the Plains during the Spring. Last week’s storm was a reminder that significant snow is possible in April, and even into May. And depth isn’t a good guide either. On May 9, 1996 western Kansas was hit by a massive thunderstorm. Hail and high winds scoured an area up to eight miles wide from Scott County through Ness County. In Lane County, hail depth was 6 inches, and was visible on the ground for several days.

Hailstones on the ground. (Public Domain)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library