Hail record broken again – 19cm hailstone confirmed in Italy

Less than a week after setting a new European record, a hailstone 19 cm in diameter was found in Azzano Decimo, Italy.

Record breaking hailstone in Italy
 © Tornado in Italia – Marilena Tonin

The previous record of 16cm in Carmignano di Brenta from 19 July lasted for only five days. On 24 July 2023 at about 11 PM in the evening, giant hail hit the town of Azzano Decimo, where the record breaking hailstone was found. After a thourough examination of the reports and photos, the specialists of the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD) came to the conclusion, that the diamter of this hailstone can be confirmed as 19 cm.

The new hailstone comes very close to the world record of a hailstone from 23 July 2010 in Vivian, South Dakota, with a diameter of 8 inches (20.3 cm).

The high frequence of hail in Northern Italy is consistent with research results of the European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL), showing, that this region has experienced the largest increase in the frequency of large hail, compared to other European regions in the past decades.

200% increase of large hail in Northern Italy since the 1950s
© ESSL / Francesco Battaglioli
Increase of hail events in Europe
© ESSL / Francesco Battaglioli

At the end, ESSL want to thank its local partners, as PreTemp in Italy, and the reporters of hail to their great collaboration and contributions to the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD)!

New European record: 16cm hailstone found in Italy

On 19 July, severe hailstorms affected large parts of Southern Europe. According to the experts of the European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL) so-called “giant hail” (hailstones with a diameter of more than 10 cm) was reported 24 times; 2 times in Croatia and 22 times in Italy!

Record breaking hailstone found in Carmignano di Brenta (Italy)
© Tornado in Italia – Floriana

In Croatia, the largest hailstone was found in Ribnik, estimated to be 13 cm in diameter. In Italy, the largest hailstone fell in Carmignano di Brenta. The specialists of the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD) estimate the size of this hailstone to be 16 cm in diameter, based on photos.

“According to our information, this would be the largest recorded hailstone in Europe”, says Thilo Kühne, Quality Control Manager of the European Severe Weather Database. “The previous record was a 15 cm hailstone from 20 June 2016 in Sânandrei, Romania”.

Besides enormous economic damage, the hail caused 109 injuries on that day alone, according to the European Severe Weather Database.

Hail reports 20 July 2023

ESSL obtaining its data from a large European network of weather entusthiasts and cooperating weather services. The Italian cases, including the new record braking hailstone, were reported by PreTemp, which collaborates closely with ESSL.

The experts of ESSL and the European Severe Weather Database urge all people sending photos to the weather services or our data base, or posting hail pictures on social media, to use a ruler, coin or other reference objects next to the hailstones when making a picture. This makes it easier to estimate the exact size of hailstones.

ESSL supports civil defense exercise

ESSL was asked by the City of Wiener Neustadt to support a major civil defense exercise for the city and surrounding districts. On July 5th, shortly before the start of the exercise, ESSL Director of Operations Alois Holzer gave a lecture on tornado basics as a prelude for the management team of around 40 officials. The tornado scenario of the exercise concerns urban areas.

Kick-off presentation at civil defense exercise for City of Wiener Neustadt and surroundings on 5 July 2023

Already 10 years ago, ESSL provided the tornado scenario for a similar civil defense exercise. The recent talk gave the participating entities insight into the impacts of violent tornadoes. Part of the presentation was the case of 24 June 2021 over Czechia, when 6 persons died and hundreds were injured in an F4 tornado. Even more people were killed in the historical tornado event of the year 1916, when 34 persons died in another F4 tornado that struck the northern neighborhoods of Wiener Neustadt.

From left to right: Markus Biffl (Head of City Administration Wiener Neustadt), Alois M. Holzer (ESSL Director of Operations), Doris Hailzl (Head civil protection department and main organizer of exercise). Background: situation room for civil defense emergencies.