Baseball-Sized Hail Pummels Parts of Italy This Weekend

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A massive hailstone found near Pozzuoli, Italy. (Instagram/barber8813)

(SOURCE)   Baseball-sized hail came smashing down near Naples, Italy on Saturday in a storm that injured several people and animals in addition to causing damage to vehicles, crops and more.

The storm hit the city of Pozzuoli just outside the popular coastal destination of Naples. 

According to Jonathan Erdman, senior meteorologist for weather.com, the storm was brought on by a vigorous southward plunge of the jet stream that carved into western Europe sending a potent upper disturbance into the Italian peninsula Saturday. 

That instability then charged up thunderstorms over the Mediterranean Sea, which swept into Italy. “The satellite signature was classic for a severe thunderstorm, or cluster of storms.”

Social media posts recorded hail near Lake Como in Northern Italy as well as the in the Naples area.

“Baseball size hailstones fall from thunderstorms at speeds of at least 75 mph, so it’s no wonder you can see the magnitude of smashed windshields and structural damage,” said Erdman.

Weather Underground Weather Historian Christopher Burt writes that Europe’s most destructive hailstorm struck Munich, Germany, on July 12, 1984. An estimated $2 billion in damage resulted from the baseball-size hail, including damage to 70,000 homes.

NOAA estimates hail causes about $1 billion in damage to crops and property each year in the U.S. Some individual hailstorms striking cities can inflict over $1 billion in damage alone, such as one that hit St. Louis on April 10, 2001.

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