How does hail form?


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While recent storms have brought some much needed rain to our region, they’ve included the threat of damaging hail.

We’ve said that we need to get some rainfall in any way that we can, but that came with the caveat that severe weather would be in the cards.

Thursday’s storms become very invigorated and produced some impressive rain totals, but they’ve also produced large hail at times.

Let’s take a look at how these chunks of ice form. As storms develop and mature, they produce updrafts and downdrafts within the cell. Rain that gets caught up in the updraft is carried into cold air aloft and freezes. These smaller hail stones are carried up and down within the storm, colliding with super cool water droplets and getting bigger along the way.

Only when the hail stone is heavy enough to overcome the updraft is it able to fall from the storm and to the ground as hail.

The stronger the updraft, the longer a hail stone can cycle through the storm cell and the bigger it can get. Thursday’s storms West River, for example, produced hail approaching the size of baseballs in parts of Meade and Pennington Counties.

Additional thunderstorms are possible as we head into the weekend, with a few of those storms possibly becoming strong to severe. With that said, the severe threat decreases as we head toward Sunday.

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