Ask Storm Team 11: What causes large hail?


Tuesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question was: “What causes large hail?”

It’s pretty common around here to get quarter or golf ball sized hail in the strongest storms. Usually we don’t see baseball sized hail, but it has happened before.

For large hail, you need a strong updraft, or an upward column of air, to keep hail lofted into the colder parts of the clouds. Hailstones grow by colliding with supercooled water droplets. That is, water droplets that are so small that they don’t become a solid when they freeze.

Eventually the hailstones fall to the ground at all different sizes when they can’t sustain themselves or the updraft weakens.

Regardless, the stronger the updraft, the bigger the hail.

If you see hail, and can safely send us a picture, send it to

Have a question for Storm Team 11? Click here to submit!

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