Weather Blog

Hail too? Good grief!

Hail too? Good grief!
Taken by YouNews contributor jitvanzoo on Nov. 13, 2009 from Edmonds.

This past few week's weather as seen it all -- storng winds, relentless rain, thundestorms, wet snow and...hail?!?!

Yes, lest we forget that the nearly two weeks of storms kicked off on Nov. 13 with quite a bit of hail. (Yes, this blog was meant to be posted closer to the event,  but those darn wind storms hogged up the blog.) 

But those storms weren't just regular hail. It was incredible hail, at least by Northwest standards. Enough to accumulate, even.

Many reports had hail as large as 1/2" in diameter, quite rare around here.

And the can be painful too. Normally, we don't even worry about umbrellas when the rain is falling but the Moss family in Edmonds found out just how much much hail stones that size can hurt when you go out dancing in them:

And here is more hail video from David Obelcz in Edmonds:

Hail forms when rain droplets get pushed higher into the atmosphere by strong upward winds. As the droplets go higher, it freezes into an ice stone. It then becomes heavier, and falls downward, picking up another coating of raindrops on its way down.

If the updrafts are strong enough, it'll blow the hail back up again, where the new coating freezes, making the hail larger, then it'll fall back downward.

This process repeats until the hail is heavier than the updraft can support, when it'll finally fall to the ground. The stronger the updraft, the larger the hail stone will become. It's said it takes an updraft of 56 mph for a hailstone to become golf-ball sized.

Now you can imagine that it'd take quite a storm to get updrafts that strong, and you would be right. Those are reserved for the major league supercell storms of the Midwest. But ever wondered what golf ball or larger size hail would be like?