Abstract

On 8 February 2018, a supercell storm produced gargantuan (> 15 cm or > 6 inches in maximum dimension) hail as it moved over the heavily populated city of Villa Carlos Paz in Córdoba Province, Argentina, South America. Observations of gargantuan hail are quite rare, but the large population density here yielded numerous witnesses and social media pictures and videos from this event that document multiple large hailstones. The storm was also sampled by the newly installed operational polarimetric C-band radar in Córdoba. During the RELAMPAGO campaign, the authors interviewed local residents about their accounts of the storm, and uncovered additional social media video and photographs revealing extremely large hail at multiple locations in town. This article documents the case, including the meteorological conditions supporting the storm (with the aid of a high-resolution WRF simulation), the storm’s observed radar signatures, and three noteworthy hailstones observed by residents. These hailstones include a freezer-preserved 4:48-inch (11:38-cm) maximum dimension stone that was scanned with a 3D infrared laser scanner, a 7:1-inch (18-cm) maximum dimension stone, and a hailstone photogrammetrically estimated to be between 7:4 and 9:3 inches (18:8-23:7- cm) in maximum dimension, which is close to or exceeds the world record for maximum dimension. Such a well-observed case is an important step forward in understanding environments and storms that produce gargantuan hail, and ultimately how to anticipate and detect such extreme events. (Capsule Summary) Gargantuan hail fell in Argentina on 8 February 2018, including one hailstone that is possibly a world-record for maximum dimension. We document eyewitness and social media accounts of the hail, and analyze the parent storm and its environment.

This content is only available as a PDF.