Largest hail stone recorded in Colorado at 4.8 inches in Bethune in 2019
© Colorado Climate Center
Largest hail stone recorded in Colorado at 4.8 inches in Bethune in 2019.
Hailstones up to the size of grapefruits fell from a thunderstorm in eastern Colorado on Aug. 13, one of which has been confirmed as an official record for the largest hail ever observed in the state.

A supercell thunderstorm struck near Bethune, Colorado, some 150 miles east of Denver, between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. MDT on Aug. 13. It produced several very large hailstones, and one of the largest ones was preserved in a freezer by a local family.

Representatives from the National Weather Service in Goodland, Kansas, and the Colorado Climate Center met with the family the following day and measured the hailstone at 4.83 inches in diameter. The NWS confirmed Friday that this officially topped Colorado's previous hail-size record of 4.5 inches.


The Aug. 13 hailstone weighed about a half-pound (8.5 ounces) and had a circumference of just under 13 inches.

Hazardous weather conditions prevented the family from retrieving the hailstone until 30 minutes after it crashed to the ground. Therefore, it might have been slightly larger in size because of melting that occurred prior to its transfer into the freezer. Regardless, the 4.83-inch hailstone has officially gone down in the record books.

The family did not report any damage from the severe storm that produced this record-large hail since so few hailstones fell from the thunderstorm. They weren't so lucky on Aug. 14, however, when another thunderstorm struck with hail the size of tennis balls and caused window damage, according to Brian Bledsoe, chief meteorologist at 11 News in Colorado Springs.


Although the Aug. 13 hail in Colorado was massive, it's still dwarfed by the largest hail ever documented in the United States - an 8-inch stone weighing 1.94 pounds near Vivian, South Dakota, on July 23, 2010.

It should also be noted that this Colorado hail is just the latest in a string of state record hailstones documented.

On March 19, 2018, a 5.38-inch hailstone was the largest on record for the state of Alabama.

Two years prior, a bizarre star-shaped hailstone tied the California state record of 3 inches in diameter.

While not a record, an Arkansas hailstorm on June 19 of this year produced giant hailstones of 4.6 inches in diameter, slightly smaller than the state record of 5-inch diameter hail on Jan. 21, 1999, and April 2, 2006.