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No. 22: Jul-Aug 1982

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Haily Rollers

August 1897. Stirling, England. After a heavy thunderstorm with hailstones 'no larger than usual,' a shepherd thought he saw a sheep prostrate in a field. Closer inspection revealed instead a block of ice weighing about 50 kg (110 pounds!). This seems much too heavy for a conventional single hailstone. If it had been an agglomeration of smaller hailstones, it would have been smashed to bits upon impact. One meteorologist has suggested the ice block might have been a hail roller analogous to snow rollers. Snow rollers form when a small bit of snow starts rolling under the influence of the wind and/or gravity, ending up as a substantial natural cylinder of rolled-up snow. However, even the author seemed a bit dubious about hail rollers!

(Harrison, S.J.; "A Nineteenth Century Hail Roller?" Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 7:77, 1982.)

From Science Frontiers #22, JUL-AUG 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss