National Geographic : 1972 Apr
A "roll" cloud leads a thunderstorm across Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. Warm currents, Remarkably enough, this brilliant scientist, who has contributed so much to our knowl edge of tornadoes, has yet to see one of the storms in action! While not as dramatic as tornadoes, hail storms cause even more economic loss. In a deep-freeze cabinet here at NCAR lie the pieces of a knobby, grapefruit-size lump of ice (page 553). It is the largest hailstone ever known to have fallen in the United States 171/2 inches in circumference and 1.67 pounds in weight. It struck the earth during a severe 550 storm at Coffeyville, Kansas, in September 1970, together with hundreds of other huge stones that crashed through roofs and put enormous dents in automobiles. A local news paper shipped the chunk to NCAR in an insu lated box packed with dry ice. Fortunately, few thunderstorms produce such lethal missiles. Yet much smaller hail stones can do tremendous damage, smashing wheat fields flat and stripping corn to rib bons. Total losses from hail in this country run as high as 300 million dollars annually.