How does hail form?

Answer

Hail forms as a result of water droplets being carried above the freezing level by updrafts from thunderstorms. If a hailstone falls toward warmer air at the bottom of a thunderstorm, it thaws. However, if it is caught in another updraft, it collects additional layers of ice, growing larger before falling to the ground as hail.

Most hail is relatively small, measuring fewer than 2 inches in diameter. However, even small hail is capable of causing a great deal of damage, owing in large part to the fact that it falls as fast as 90 miles per hour. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a hail storm that occurred on April 10 in 2001 in Kansas City caused roughly $2 billion in damage.

The largest hailstone ever recorded fell in June 2003 in Aurora, Neb. The piece of hail measured more than 18 inches in circumference, 7 inches in diameter and weighed slightly less than 1 pound. The heaviest piece of hail on record fell in September 1970 in Coffeeville, Kan. It weighed 1.67 pounds, and it measured 17.5 inches in circumference and 5.7 inches in diameter.

In the United States, most hailstorms occur in the Great Plains region, which is just east of the Rocky Mountains. Hail falls primarily in spring and summer as that is when thunderstorms are most prevalent.

Many people mistake the sleet of winter, which is simply frozen raindrops, for hail.

Q&A Related to "How does hail form?"
Strong winds are an integral part of the formation of hail but unlike the straight-line winds that blow horizontally over the surface of the earth, volatile atmospheric conditions
http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4564197_hail-form.htm...
Hail is formed when ice particles are carried up and down within the updraft of a strong thunderstorm. The pieces of ice pass between air that is above and below freezing multiple
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_does_hail_form_in_a_...
Up Drafts in thunder storms basically "Cycle" raindrops high enough in the atmosphere to freeze.the stronger the up draft the more times a given raindrop can be cycled.hence.marble
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=201204...
Much larger hailstones can be made when two smaller ones freeze together. Kind of
http://www.chacha.com/question/how-do-giant-pieces...
1 Additional Answer
Ask.com Answer for: How Does Hail Form
Hail forms when tiny clumps of ice, kept aloft by strong updraughts, get blown through freezing thunderclouds until they are heavy enough to fall to earth.
Every hailstone begins to form as an ice nucleus, a small cluster of supercooled water droplets or clumps of snow.
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