The non-meteorological-based Flat Hail Society (FHS) issued a statement today saying its members should continue to describe hailstones – either real or imagined – as dime-sized or quarter-sized.  “Consistency is as important to us as accuracy”, leader Pam Cake said.  “While we have generally avoided the cheap thrill of describing peso-sized or denarius-sized hail[1], we are now committed to identifying Kennedy Half-Dollar-Sized hail[2] and Sacajawean Golden Dollar sized-hail, as well.  Speaking of dollar-sized we will also feature dollar-pancake sized hail, too  There are several sizes of hail bigger than coins so we have added bologna-sized hailstones and pizza-sized hail to our list of acceptable weather terms.  The world-record ones we can call Frisbee-sized or trash-can lid-sized hail.”

“FHS members have sometimes been said to be creative in our weather terminology, but will not be flattered,” Cake added, suggesting that some terms have been dropped due to health concerns.  “Because of people’s concerns for fat content, we will no longer refer to pepperoni-sized hail.

The announcement was roundly condemned by its opponents.  “It’s a flat-out lie”, one member of the Circular Reasoning  Association (CRA) protested, “because it isn’t true.”   Spokesman and weathercaster Jim Ball released the following statement and said his colleagues will continue to say hail is marble or golf-ball-sized.

The last time central Iowa had a big hail storm, official hail-chasers rounded up whole bowls of hailstones and not one of them was flat, although some were more egg-shaped than perfectly round.

Even those of us who recognize the spherical nature of hail must start using a little creativity with our own descriptions. We cannot get caught flat-footed.  Baseball-sized or ping-pong ball-sized hail is great, but not everyone is into sports.  Most people have body parts, though.  Wouldn’t warning folks about eyeball-sized hail better help keep people on the look-out?

I think some weather persons are more like politicians and might use names like meatball-sized hail or even gallstone-sized hail if the public would let them get away with it.   The size of these objects varies so much in real life that they could take credit no matter what the size the hail eventually turns out to be.


[1] The 1828 Noah Webster definition permits of both shapes, sad to say:  Masses of ice or frozen vapor, falling from

the clouds in showers or storms. These masses consist of little spherules united but not all of the same consistence; some being as hard and solid as perfect ice; others soft, like frozen snow. Hailstones assume various figures ; some are round, others angular, others pyramidical, others flat, and sometimes they are stellated with six radii, like crystals of snow.

[2] Hail to the Chief

 

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