Hailstones also do not grow from being lofted to the top of the thunderstorm. At very high altitudes, the air is cold enough (below -40°F) that all liquid water will have frozen into ice, and hailstones need liquid water to grow to an appreciable size. How does hail fall to the ground?
Hail forms inside of cumulonimbus clouds (cumulonimbus clouds are anvil shaped and usually thunderstorm-producing clouds) when there is a strong updraft to carry graupel pellets back up into the cloud. [Graupel is simply frozen raindrops, similar to sleet]. In which types of clouds will snow and hail form?
How does hail form in a storm?
Initially, hail starts as water droplets that come from cumulonimbus clouds. The droplets are subjected to freezing temperatures as they rise, thus becoming super cooled. The storm’s high updraft speed blows the forming hailstones higher up the cloud.
How does hail form in the atmosphere?
These ice particles are then carried back down into the cloud’s lower levels by the downdraft where it thaws and collects additional water droplets and back up via the updraft where it re-freezes.
So, why does hail form at high altitudes?
At very high altitudes, the air is cold enough (below -40°F) that all liquid water will have frozen into ice, and hailstones need liquid water to grow to an appreciable size. How does hail fall to the ground? Hail falls when it becomes heavy enough to overcome the strength of the thunderstorm updraft and is pulled toward the earth by gravity.
While we were writing we ran into the inquiry “What type of precipitation is Hail?”.
One source proposed hail is a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into ice. To be considered hail, the frozen precipitation pieces must have a diameter greater than 5mm (.20”).
Thunderstorms known for hail-production may rise as high as 10km high. However, it falls towards the ground in the process while it continues growing. Later, it will start melting as it passes over air higher than freezing temperatures. Finally, the cloud starts dropping as hailstones.
Because it’s made of ice, hail is often mistaken as a cold weather event, but in reality, it is associated with severe thunderstorms — not winter weather. While hailstorms technically can occur year-round, some of the most destructive hail events have occurred at the height of summer.
What are the characteristics of high clouds?
Accompanied by moderate or heavy rain or snow, occasionally ice pellets. Although classed as a medium cloud, its base frequently descends to low cloud levels. May be partly or even totally obscured by stratus forming underneath in precipitation. HIGH CLOUDS Cirrus (Ci) Height of base:17,000-35,000 ft.
The first two things that must be present are strong updrafts of warm air and downdrafts of cold air. These strong currents of air are typical in Cumulonimbus clouds. These clouds are the massive anvil or mushroom shaped clouds you see during thunderstorms. They can be over 65,000 feet tall!