7th April 1297. Hail.

A Date with History

The largest hailstone officially recorded fell on Horsham, West Sussex in 1958.(1)

Horsham hailstones. Horsham hailstones compared to matchbox.

Today a Sunday in 1297 it was reported, ‘That on the second night after Palm Sunday [today’s date],before Matins, there was a terrible storm; thunder, lightning, fire [balls] and hail came…with unheard of violence ‘.

‘The hailstones were immense and astonishing to witness for their size was as big as a man’s thumb. On top of all this there was an eclipse of the moon and then the storm renewed itself with renewed violence’.(2)

The fifty most intense British hail storms since 1650 see a peak in July in the months from May to September with the East Midlands, East Anglia, London and Home Counties as the main areas.

For hail to form, a large part of cumulonimbus clouds need to be below freezing, with the temperature at the top colder than -20c…

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