Jun
02
2008

What the hail? It’s been an ice-filled sky this spring

Hail, hail this piece of hail: This is the world-record hailstone that fell in Aurora, Nebraska, in 2003. It has a diameter of seven inches and circumfrence of nearly 19 inches.
Hail, hail this piece of hail: This is the world-record hailstone that fell in Aurora, Nebraska, in 2003. It has a diameter of seven inches and circumfrence of nearly 19 inches.Courtesy NOAA
In the Twin Cities area, we’ve had some pretty impressive hail storms lately, at least if you’re measuring by frequency and intensity. Today’s Star Tribune has a nice round up on our surge in hail activities.

So what is hail any way, besides the sound of green to auto glass replacement and body shop companies?

Hail is formed when storm clouds supercool water droplets into frozen masses around particles of dust. The formation of thunderstorms is the ideal circumstance for creating hail. Updrafts in the storm’s formation blow the hail up into the thunderhead for a little while. Then the hail descends in the cloud, collects more moisture and becomes a bigger piece of ice when another updraft blasts it back up into the thunderhead. When those updrafts subside or the ice gets too big and heavy, the hail comes pelting back down to Earth on us, our vegetation and cars.

In the U.S., “Hail Alley” is located there Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming converge. Worldwide, deadly hail storms have been recorded in India and China.

Before you start to think our recent hail storms here in the Twin Cities have been impressive, consider these storms:

• Around the 9th century, several hundred pilgrims were killed by a massive hailstorm in Roopkund, Uttarakhand, India.

• July 11, 1990, in Denver, Colorado, softball-sized hail destroyed roofs and cars, causing $625 million in total damage.

• April 14, 1999, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, $1.5 billion was done spread across 20,000 properties and 40,000 vehicles. In addition, more than 25 aircraft were damaged at Sydney Airport.

• July 19, 2002, Henan Province, China, resulted in 25 dead and hundreds injured.

• June 22, 2003, saw the largest hailstone on record fall in Aurora, Nebraska, It has a 7-inch diameter and a circumference of 18.75 inches.

Itching to learn more about hail? Here's a link to the Wikipedia page of all things hail.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

Hail = cool.
But not as cool as the title of this post.

posted on Mon, 06/02/2008 - 7:58pm
bert123's picture
bert123 says:

that would be just crazy if that hailstone fell here in minnesota. i sure hope that it didnt land on somebody.
IBI Call it what you want IBI

posted on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 4:35pm

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