Hail is very common in our part of the world and now you can help us and other nearby communities by reporting hail sizes using the PING project.
Currently, there are several ways to report hail sizes to us.
1) Spotters are encouraged to call the spotter hotline or use e-spotter.
2) Become a CoCoRaHS volunteer
3) If you have a smartphone, you can download the mPING app for free and use that
4) If you do not have a smartpohone, but a connection to the Internet, you can report it using this web site
So, how do you report hail sizes? It is reported by the diameter of the largest hail stone you see. If you can measure it with a ruler, great, if not relate it to a coin or other common object, such as pea size (1/4 inch), penny (3/4 inch), quarters (1 inch), golf balls (2.75 inch), and there are many more. The app and the web site are self-explanitory. You can even run a test so that you can learn how to use it when severe weather moves in.
At this point, we probably need to review what severe weather is defined as. We at the NWS do not want to issue warnings for just any storm. They have to be expected to produce hail that is at least 1 inch in diameter (size of a quarter) and / or wind gusts at 58 mph or higher.
Hail normally has to be about 1 inch or larger before it produces damage.
It normally takes winds close to 60 mph to bring down large limbs on trees and at this speed may do some minor damage to a home such as damage to gutters and shingles.
We do not issue warnings based upon the amount of lightning, or how heavy the rainfall, just those two items listed above.
The NWS collects reports of damage and hail and uses them for verification of our warnings and for research.