Weather 101: How Does Hail Form?

Weather 101

KNWA/KFTA- On this segment of Weather 101 our topic is hail and specifically how does it form?

We need an updraft to get things started. Rising air condenses and forms clouds. If it is particularly strong thunderstorms can start to form. It is inside of these beasts that hail can form. Inside the clouds are tiny water droplets that can easily get caught up inside of the updraft of the storm.

The updraft can carry that droplet high up into the clouds where the temperature is well below freezing. The droplet then falls out of the updraft and falls back into warmer air towards the bottom of the cloud. Each time it rises up in the updraft it gains a layer of ice around the droplet, and each time it falls into the warmer air it gains a layer of water.

This process can happen multiple times. Each time the hailstone goes through this process it gets larger and larger. Eventually the weight of the hailstone overcomes the force of the updraft and plummets towards the earth’s surface! Look out below!

Hope you have learned a little bit about hail from this segment of Weather 101. As always you can send us your questions and any topics you want us to cover to our email weather@knwa.com.

Stay safe and healthy!

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