Hail or hoax?

This melon-sized “hailstone” has been a hot item on the Internet the last few days. Supposedly it fell in Norman, Okla., during the recent tornado outbreak. Really? I lived in Oklahoma most of my 68 years, and I’d bet my next Social Security check that this is no hailstone. I’m guessing, as have many others, that it’s the frozen contents of a water balloon. Not that hailstones don’t get this big. But when they do, they tend to look more like aggregates of smaller hailstones.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is based in Norman. If this thing were genuine, I imagine they’d have heard about it by now, along with the media.

Anybody want to buy a bridge?

Photo: api.newson6.com

8 comments

  1. I think you’re exactly right about the balloon. I’ve been fascinated by weather related phenomena since I began training as a weather observer for the Air Force back in 1973, and the only hailstones I’ve seen that were as smooth as that were ones that had almost entirely melted away. I don’t think the laws of physics, at least as they apply on Earth, would allow one to grow so large as to leave what’s pictured here as a mostly melted remnant.

  2. You are correct it is likely a hoax, but you are inaccurate about the National Weather Service. Let me educate you about this.

    NOAA’s National Weather Service is not based in Norman, OK. The National Weather Service is based out of Silver Springs, MD (Washington D.C), with nearly 120 forecast offices across the 50 states and U.S. territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, etc), along with regional offices (River Forecast Centers) and a few national offices (such as National Hurricane Center, Storm Prediction Center). Each forecast office serves a certain number of counties, and provides the information to the public, while national centers provide support to forecast offices across the nation. The National Hurricane Center is perhaps the only national office which provides public service (ie direct to the public) while the others are a support centers for forecast offices.

    Norman has one forecast office (serving 56 counties in Oklahoma and Texas) and a couple of national offices, such as the Storm Prediction Center, which provides support to all 120 Forecast offices nationwide.

    So NO, the National Weather Service is NOT based in Norman, Oklahoma…Get your facts straight.

    1. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been in how I said that. There is an NWS Forecast Office in Norman, a place where knowledgeable weather people work who would be interested in seeing this “hailstone,” if it’s genuine.

  3. Quote: “Get your facts straight.” – rude on the internet as usual among blogs. Sorry to see someone close a post like that. The rest of that post – ok inform everyone I suppose if you feel you must. When water freezes from the outside-in, like with a water-filled balloon placed in a freezer, then due to expansion it’s bound to crack across the interior as in the photo. Hail forms from the inside-out, and usually has identifiable formation “rings” as a result of a thunderstorm updraft cycle – just some of the telltale signs. While it is true that the National Weather Service is based out of Silver Springs, MD (this is indicated at the bottom of just about every weather.gov page), the National Weather CENTER is based out of Norman, Oklahoma, and has a HUGE weather forecasting and prediction facility, UUUGE as Donald Trump would say, and they provide a large amount of support to other offices as well as web-site programming and other software. It’s a good place to be based out of i.e. the near center of tornado alley (other than KS). I’ve worked in collaboration with some of the people over there. I write weather software, have had half of what I own damaged by hail at one time or another and I know what I’m talking about. The National Weather Center – check it out online or by tour sometime.

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