The hail that fell across parts of Mississippi with severe storms on Monday, damaging hundreds of vehicles, homes and buildings, was some of the largest on record.
The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed Wednesday (March 20) that a large hail stone measured at 4.25 inches in diameter in the western Jackson metro area city of Clinton, was the third largest to fall in the state in March on record and or since 1950.
It was also the third largest hail stone to fall in any month on record in the state.
Hail of 4.25 inches in diameter equates to the size of softballs. Softball-size hail has only occurred one other time back in April of 2005 in the Preston area of Kemper County.
Slightly larger hail stones of 4.5 inches in diameter and or grapefruit-size hail have occurred four times between 1993 and 1998. Grapefruit-size hail is the second largest to hit the state.
The largest, which only occurred once on record, was hail of five inches in diameter and or the size of a CD/DVD disk. This occurred in Lafayette County way back on April 10, 1962.
Large hail-producing storms are most often seen across the Plains states including Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota, where drier air aids in lowering the freezing level within a severe thunderstorm through evaporational cooling, giving hail a larger volume to grow.
Accordingly, hail is less common in the Southeast despite a much higher frequency of thunderstorms because of the tropical airmass that commonly infiltrates the region off the Gulf of Mexico.
The largest and heaviest hail stone on record in the United States fell in Vivian, South Dakota, just three years ago on July 23, 2010. It measured eight inches in diameter and weighed 1.93 pounds.