It was Friday afternoon when a line of thunderstorms fired up in central South Dakota. High winds, heavy rains and even a possible tornado rolled through the town of Vivian. But now days later, a hailstone picked up just moments after the storm is getting worldwide attention.
The damage is proof that it wasn't a typical South Dakota thunderstorm. Holes were punched through the top of buildings, and Les Scott will never forget what it sounded like.
"A guy throwing bricks at the house and many of them and it was scary," Scott said.
Scott watched as massive hailstones pummeled the ground. Tuesday, the dents in the ground are still visible, some as large and deep as coffee cans. But when the hail stopped, a certain stone grabbed his attention.
"I just happened to see this one fall and the only reason I went out and got it is because it has all these fingers sticking out of it and I thought, 'Oh, that's weird.' So I thought I'd go get that one," Scott said.
Scott originally wanted to make a daiquiri out of the hail, but decided to contact the National Weather Service instead. Tuesday, they were in Vivian. They carefully took the stone from the freezer and placed it in a cooler with dry ice. The next stop was at the post office where the hail had a date with the federally certified scale. Moments later, the hailstone weighed in at 1.9375 pounds.
“Officially, where records have been kept, this will be the U.S. record and world record for weight. So very impressive," Mike Fowle of the National Weather Service said.
But the inspection of the new world record hail wasn't done there. To ensure that the hailstone didn't melt, it was then measured while inside a freezer at a local convenience store.
The hailstone is down to 17 inches around, but was measured just a few days ago at 18 and a half inches. That is another world record number.
"I didn't think it was near that, but I'm glad I got it I guess. I'm just sad about the town of Vivian. I hope the insurance people help them out as much as they can because they need it," Scott said.
As impressive as the size and weight are, it may have topped two pounds when it fell from the sky. While Scott placed it in the freezer, the power was out for six hours following the storm, and it likely melted a bit in that time.
Click on the pictures from Vivian to view as larger images.