Hail formation: Look inside a thunderstorm

6 Storm Team Weather School

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — If you ever see a thunderstorm with hail and wondered how it forms, the WATE 6 On Your Side Storm Team has the answer.

Inside a strong thunderstorm, there are strong updrafts and strong downdrafts. These drafts can carry raindrops into the cold parts of the atmosphere where they freeze into small hailstones. As this happens the hail is carried up and down inside of the storm cloud and it will continue to grow as it collides with super cold water droplets in the cloud.

Once the hail gets heavy enough or the updraft weakens, the hail will begin to fall. In a non-severe thunderstorm, hail can range in size anywhere from a pea to about a nickel. For a severe thunderstorm with stronger updrafts, hail can range in size from a quarter to a softball.

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