What causes Hail?

One of the most unusual weather conditions we can experience is a hail storm. It is quite a thing to see and hear hailstone coming down, sometimes with such force that great damage is done. Animals, even men, have been killed by hail!

A hailstorm usually occurs during the warm weather and is accompanied in many cases by thunder, lightning, and rain. Hail is formed when raindrops freeze while passing through a belt of cold air on their way to earth.

Single raindrops form very small hailstones. But an interesting thing can hapen to such a raindrop. As it falls as a hailstones, it may meet a strong rising current of air. So it carried up again to the level where raindrops are filling.

New drops begin to cling to the hailstone. And as it falls once more through the cold belt, these new drops spread into a layer around it and it and freeze, and now we have larger hailstone.

This rising and falling of the hailstone may be repeated time after time until it has added so many layers that its weight is heavy enough to overcome the force of the rising current of air. Now it falls to the ground. In this way hailstones measuring 8 to 10 centimeters in a diameter and weighing as much as 450 grams are sometimes built up.

Snow, too, freezes around hailstones when they are carried into regions where it is forming. So the hailstone are frequently made up of layers of ice and snow. Frozen rain is sometimes called hail, but it is really "sleet"! And soft hail which sometimes falls in winter is only a form of snow.

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