Characteristics of Oklahoma Hailfalls and Hailstorms

Stephan P. Nelson National Severe Storms Laboratory, NOAA, Norman, OK 73069

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Sondra K. Young National Severe Storms Laboratory, NOAA, Norman, OK 73069

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Abstract

Data on point and areal (100–8100 km2) surface hailfall characteristics are presented for Oklahoma. Data analysis shows Oklahoma experiences a larger mean hailstone per occurrence than South Africa and a larger mean hailfall area than South Africa or Illinois.

Further investigations were made into the parent hailstorms. They were first subdivided using the ordinary/supercell classification system suggested by Browning (1977). The classification system was found to have general utility for central Oklahoma when applied to all observed hailstorms that occurred within an 8100 km2 area over a four-year period. Supercells comprised ∼25% of the storms and had a larger mean observed hailstone diameter (4.4 cm) and a larger mean maximum swath width (18.1 km) than the ordinary cell storms (mean value of 1.4 cm and 8.1 km, respectively). These differences in hail production are significant at the 1% level.

Abstract

Data on point and areal (100–8100 km2) surface hailfall characteristics are presented for Oklahoma. Data analysis shows Oklahoma experiences a larger mean hailstone per occurrence than South Africa and a larger mean hailfall area than South Africa or Illinois.

Further investigations were made into the parent hailstorms. They were first subdivided using the ordinary/supercell classification system suggested by Browning (1977). The classification system was found to have general utility for central Oklahoma when applied to all observed hailstorms that occurred within an 8100 km2 area over a four-year period. Supercells comprised ∼25% of the storms and had a larger mean observed hailstone diameter (4.4 cm) and a larger mean maximum swath width (18.1 km) than the ordinary cell storms (mean value of 1.4 cm and 8.1 km, respectively). These differences in hail production are significant at the 1% level.

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