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Changing Hail

December 29, 2009

A listener asks if hail changes size as it falls to the ground.


Changing hail …I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Listener Monica Sullivan of Wilson, North Carolina called in with this question about the weather:
Does hail change diameter as it falls to the ground?
Well, Monica, we spoke with Dennis Todey, a climatologist at South Dakota State University. He says that during a thunderstorm, hail starts off as microscopic particles of ice that get caught up in updrafts by the wind.
DENNIS TODEY (South Dakota State University):
And they can be cycled through that updraft several times, and they can collect several diff layers of ice in them and gradually grow larger and larger and larger until they fall out as larger hailstones.
Between there and the ground, they lose only a little size. And if you have a science question, give us a call at 1-800-why-isit. If we use your question, you’ll win a Science Update mug. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.