Better Ways of Finding Extreme Weather

So large, in fact, that a record for the largest hailstone in state history was set: a stone that fell in southwest Wichita had a diameter of 7.75 inches, shattering the existing record by more than 2 inches.

But Scott Blair, a meteorologist with the Topeka branch of the National Weather Service, came across something startling as he researched the Sept. 15, 2010, storm. Checking local media websites, he found photos of one massive hailstone after another.

By the time he was done, he had found eight hailstones that were larger than the previous state record hailstone, which fell in Coffeyville in 1970.

“I’m sure there was a lot more that didn’t get documented,” Blair said. “That alone shows the impressive nature of the storm.”
Thanks to social media, the storm could become a turning point in how data on severe storms is collected and in researchers’ grasp of what hailstorms can do, Blair and other experts say.

The Coffeyville stone's record lasted more than three decades. Social media is playing a bigger and bigger role in documenting extreme weather. Details from The Wichita Eagle. 


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