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Why hailstones keep getting bigger

16/01/2021

Why hailstones keep getting bigger

The examined hail also showed substantial wet growth, which occurs in the lower part of hail growth zones within the storms, suggesting the updraft there must be particularly strong for these giants to obtain their size.

As fascinating as this may be from a safe distance, hail of course is also extraordinarily dangerous, and more so the larger it gets. 

"Hail can cause significant damage to property and agriculture, as well as injuries or even deaths," the researchers wrote in their paper.

They proposed officially classifying hailstones larger than 15 centimetres (6 inches) as "gargantuan", to help warn us all of their damaging potential.

"Anything larger than about a quarter in size can start putting dents into your car," Kumjian said. "In some rare cases, 6-inch hail has actually gone through roofs and multiple floors in houses. We'd like to help mitigate the impacts on life and property, to help anticipate these kinds of events."

The team searched for warning signs leading up to the hailstorm but found a "lack of indications of an extreme event in the pre-storm environment, numerical model forecasts, or radar imagery collectively," and pointed out we need a lot more research in this area.

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