Rapid-scan radar observations of an Oklahoma tornadic hailstorm producing giant hail

Arthur Witt, Donald W. Burgess, Anton Seimon, John T. Allen, Jeffrey C. Snyder, Howard B. Bluestein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Rapid-scan radar observations of a supercell that produced near-record size hail in Oklahoma are examined. Data from the National Weather Radar Testbed Phased Array Radar (PAR) in Norman, Oklahoma, are used to study the overall character and evolution of the storm. Data from the nearby polarimetric KOUN WSR-88D and rapid-scanning X-band polarimetric (RaXPol) mobile radar are used to study the evolution of low- to midaltitude dual-polarization parameters above two locations where giant hailstones up to 16 cm in diameter were observed. The PAR observation of the supercell's maximum storm-top divergent outflow is similar to the strongest previously documented value. The storm's mesocyclone rotational velocity at midaltitudes reached a maximum that is more than double the median value for similar observations from other storms producing giant hail. For the two storm-relative areas where giant hail was observed, noteworthy findings include 1) the giant hail occurred outside the main precipitation core, in areas with low-altitude reflectivities of 40-50 dBZ; 2) the giant hail was associated with dual-polarization signatures consistent with past observations of large hail at 10-cm wavelength, namely, lowZDR, lowρHV, and lowKDP; 3) the giant hail fell along both the northeast and southwest edges of the primary updraft at ranges of 6-10 km from the updraft center; and 4) with the exception of one isolated report, the giant hail fell to the northeast and northwest of the large tornado and the parent mesocyclone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1263-1282
Number of pages20
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2018


  • Radars/Radar observations
  • Severe storms


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