Massive hailstone found in Bell County set new record for Central Texas region
BELL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) - The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety scanned the massive hailstone found near Salado, Texas on Tuesday, April 12, and learned it had a maximum diameter of 5.676 inches, a mass of 409.3 grams (about .90 pounds), and a volume of 29.5 cubic inches.
The measurements, which will be submitted to the National Weather Service, make it is the largest hailstone ever found in Central Texas.
The hailstone was not big enough, however, to break the Texas state record set by a huge hailstone found in Hondo, Texas on April 28, 2021. That stone had a maximum diameter of 6.416 inches.
Salado area resident Gina Brown found the massive hailstone after an EF3 tornado struck her area Tuesday.
“This banging started on the roof. My dog was in the closet with me and he was going crazy,” Brown said, “I just started taking a video. I couldn’t believe the amount of hail stones in the front yard.”
Brown found what is now being called the “Salado Stone.”
It was bigger than normal and she shared the photo with the KWTX weather team. When KWTX shared the photo on social media, it immediately garnered thousands of reactions, shares and interactions.
In order to find out if the stone set a new record, it needed to be preserved. “Someone said, ‘please put it in a freezer bag and put it in your fridge immediately,’” Brown recalled.
Experts with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety immediately flew into Central Texas from South Carolina with the equipment necessary to measure the stone.
“The Salado Stone is competing against the Hondo Stone, which we scanned last year. It measured 6.416 inches,” said Christina Gropp, a meteorologist at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.
Gropp’s team had to move quickly in order to take the Salado Stone’s measurements before it melted and lost mass.
The stone was sprayed with a preserver before 3D scans were taken.
Why is it important to take these measurements?
“So we can better understand hailstones, how they form, how they grow in size and shape,” said Gropp, “So we can better prepare our homes and businesses for future hail storms.”
After hours of measurements, the Salado Stone came in at 5.676 inches, a little short of the Hondo Stone.
Regardless, the experts agree the Salado stone is special.
“This stone is very unique in all its bumps and crevices that it has,” Gropp said.
Those bumps and crevices will forever be captured in a 3D printed model that will be sent to Brown, who will keep the model in her office and keep the original in her freezer as long as possible.
“It’s pretty cool,” she said, “Pun intended.”
Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.