Because they are so tall, thunderstorm updrafts often contain hail. Sometimes the hail becomes large enough to fall to the ground before it melts in the lower atmosphere.

The largest hailstone officially accepted by the National Weather Service is the 8-inch stone that fell near Vivian, S.D., in 2010. There are reports of larger stones, but they remain unconfirmed. There are only three accounts in the history of the United States of people killed by hail. In 1930, a farmer near Lubbock, Texas, was struck and killed. In 1979, hail killed a baby in Ft. Collins, Colo. A boater was killed by a large hail stone near Fort Worth, Texas, in 2000.

There is a report of a hailstorm in Bangladesh in 1986 that killed 92 people. Perhaps the costliest hailstorm hit Sydney, Australia, in 1999 when hail the size of tennis balls fell for almost an hour and caused more than $3 billion (U.S. adjusted for inflation) in damage to structures.

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