Why Does it Hail in Summer?

Summers are hot. Hail is cold. They seem like an odd couple – so how can hail fall when it’s summertime? First, let’s look at how hail forms.

Hail forms when strong currents of rising air, known as updrafts, carry droplets of water high enough that they freeze. A strong updraft allows hailstones to grow large enough to reach the ground. Simply put, the stronger the updraft, the larger the hail.

Hailstone damage. - Credit: Jack Newton via Flickr

Hailstone damage to car window.Credit: Jack Newton via Flickr

Once they grow large enough to begin falling, they speed towards the Earth as fast as 90 mph, taking around a minute and a half to reach land! Small hailstones usually melt before reaching the ground, but the larger ones do hit the ground and can cause extensive damage.

Middle latitudes shown between the orange dashed line and the red zone. - Credit: KVDP via Wiki

Middle latitudes shown between the orange dashed line and the red zone.Credit: KVDP via Wiki

Hail is most common in mid-latitudes during early summer where surface temperatures are warm enough to promote the instability associated with strong thunderstorms, but the upper atmosphere is still cool enough to support ice. This is why it can still hail in the summertime – the air at ground level may be warm, but it can still be cold enough higher up in the sky.

Hail during the summer is not out of the ordinary – just another thing you can let WeatherBug worry about for you. Download the WeatherBug app!

 

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This entry was posted in Awareness, Summer.
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