Trivia: Pea, marble, dime, nickel, quarter, half dollar, walnut…

Pea, marble, dime, nickel, quarter, half dollar, walnut, golf ball, hen egg, tennis ball, baseball, teacup, grapefruit, softball.

What is this a list of?

Answer. Note that the list is different in Britain. (Original story that tipped me off to this list.)

Comments (16)
  1. Jonathan_S says:

    I realized that the apparent diameter was increasing as you progressed through the list.

    But until following the link I hadn’t associated it with reported sizes of hail.

    (Although in retrospect I have heard many of those terms used to describe hail pellet size)

  2. Tim Smith says:

    I’m such a weather geek.  I knew the answer even before I got done with the list.

    I don’t know if I should be happy or sad.

  3. Wyatt says:

    I live in South Dakota, we are quite familiar with hail here.

  4. When I lived in Sydney I lived through this:

    For those unfamiliar with cricket, the cricket ball pictured is about the same size as a tennis ball.

    The whole area I lived in looked like a driving range after that.

  5. Scott says:

    I was going to say "tumor sizes"

  6. Neil Johnson says:

    I’ve been to several NWS weather spotter classes and the instructor always directs spotters to never use  "marble" to describe the size hail. To prove the point, the instructor brings out a bag marbles to show that their size can very from 1/2" to 7/8". This makes it impossible to determine whether the hail is severe (> 3/4").

    The instructor recommends always using coin sizes to report hail size.

  7. Dustin Long says:

    Things that you eat?

  8. Puckdropper says:

    I’ve never heard "hen egg" or "tea cup" used to describe hail, but everything else is familiar.

    When people around here (Midwest) say "marble" they’re usually thinking about the 1/4" variety.  That’s one of those cases where most people understand what is meant even though there are a large number of variations.

  9. Miles Archer says:

    I saw half-dollar sized hail once. I can’t imagine the damage from grapefruit sized hail.

  10. Eric H says:

    I would have said "gravel".

  11. hexatron says:

    I realized what it was when I got to ‘baseball’ and ‘softball’, but then I spent some time in Kansas, and baseball-sized hail was in the news this week (texas?)

    The worst hail I saw was golfball. It was extremely noisy, but only about one hailstone per second fell in a 4×4 meter area. So if one were totally stupid, one could walk through the hailstorm with a very decent chance of being unharmed.

  12. Mr. Cranky says:

    Whew!  I was afraid that it was items retrieved from people’s rectums in the emergency room.

  13. ::Wendy:: says:

    The US currency centric list includes Teacup while the British one doesn’t…  

    ….the Brits also appear keen on providing options…

    ….Mothballs were the biggest hailstones I saw in 36 yrs in the UK,  I guess more remote parts of the Empire saw some Melons….

  14. Barry Leiba says:

    I posted <a href="">this blog entry</a> about the NPR item back in August, when it aired.

  15. Jules says:

    Wendy: over here in the west midlands, just over a year ago, we had some that I’d classify as walnuts.  But, yeah, other than that I’d agree with not getting much beyond ‘mothball’.  Most of the hail I see is too small to even classify as ‘pea’.

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