Hales scored 101, his first T20 hundred for the county, as Notts completed a record run chase to defeat the Vikings by five wickets with five balls remaining.
Yorkshire had posted 223-5, with Adam Lyth scoring 59, after the visitors had been invited to bat first.
Amid the carnage Samit Patel maintained creditable figures of 3-29, but there was little joy for any of the other bowlers to celebrate as Yorkshire plundered 10 sixes in their 20 overs.
Requiring more than 11 runs an over Notts got off to a flying start with Hales and Riki Wessels putting on 87 in the first 5.4 overs before Wessels fell to Azeem Rafiq for 34.
Tom Moores, promoted to No 3 in the order, was unluckily run out by a direct hit from David Willey, who threw down the stumps from 60 yards.
Hales reached his hundred from 45 balls, heaving four huge sixes and 14 fours, before falling shortly afterwards, lofting Willey to deep midwicket, to leave the score on 177-3 in the 15th over.
Brendan Taylor made 41, having put on 83 with Hales, before being trapped lbw by Rashid, while the Outlaws’ captain Dan Christian hit a quickfire 24 before being dismissed when 17 were still needed from the final two overs.
Steven Mullaney immediately calmed any nerves amongst the home supporters by twice lifting the ball over the ropes, including the winning blow from the bowling of Tim Bresnan.
Earlier, Tom Kohler-Cadmore made 37 in an opening partnership of 83 with Lyth, a stand that was broken by Mullaney, with the first ball of the seventh over.
Australian internationals Shaun Marsh, who made 47, and Peter Handscomb, 31, added 68 from 35 balls and the final lustre to the Vikings’ innings was supplied by Jack Leaning’s 16-ball unbeaten 28.
Notts had never successfully chased anything higher than 207 before but thanks to Hales’ magnificent effort they accomplished the feat with time to spare.
Despite the loss Yorkshire remain top of the North Group but the table is so tight that sixth -placed Notts are only two points behind them, with a game in hand.