Tennis

N.J. weather: Tennis ball-size hail pelts North Jersey during intense thunderstorms

Huge hail stones — some of the largest ones seen in New Jersey in recent years — fell from the sky during intense thunderstorms that rolled across Bergen County Thursday afternoon.

The National Weather Service said it received reports of hail as big as golf balls and tennis balls. And if you don’t believe it, there was plenty of proof in photos posted on social media.

“We’ve had reports of hail up to 1 to 2 inches in diameter, even 2 1/2 inches,” said James Tomasini, a meteorologist at the weather service’s regional forecast office in New York, which covers northeastern New Jersey.

Standard golf balls are 1.75 inches in diameter, and tennis balls are 2.5 inches in diameter.

Tomasini said it wouldn’t be rare for hail this big to fall in other regions of the country, like the Midwest or Deep South, but for a New York City suburb like Bergen County, “it’s unusual.”

The giant hail stones fell during one of several severe thunderstorms that swept into New Jersey from central and eastern Pennsylvania — a line of storms unrelated to Tropical Storm Elsa. Elsa is moving its way across North Carolina and isn’t expected to arrive in southern New Jersey until late Thursday night or after midnight.

Tomasini said the afternoon hail reports were concentrated mainly in the Hillsdale and Westwood areas of Bergen County, and the weather service also received reports of wind damage, downed power lines and trees blocking roads.

The largest hail stone ever reported in New Jersey was 3 inches in diameter, according to the National Weather Service. The monster hail stone — slightly bigger than a standard baseball — fell on June 23, 1969 in Cherry Hill.

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