Weather Whys

What causes hail to form?

What causes hail to form? Hail is caused when raindrops are lifted up into the atmosphere during a thunderstorm and then supercooled by temperatures below freezing, turning them into ice balls, says Dr. Dick Orville of Texas A&M University.

“The faster the updraft on these balls of ice, the bigger they can grow,” he explains.

“On some hailstones, you can actually see rings inside them which show they were cycled through the thunderstorm more than once. What starts out as a tiny raindrop becomes a pea-size chunk of ice and some eventually get to be the size of baseballs or softballs.

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