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© FrazierFox9 © FrazierFox9

On a day after such a devastating hail storm, I thought it might be interesting to talk about how hail is formed. We are all affected by the weather every day, but last night took on a personal touch for me. I, along with my co-workers, looked outside of the FOX 9 studios in amazement, as huge chunks of ice came crashing to the ground. The sound of the hail as it smashed down on cars, including mine, was deafening. The storm's onslaught on the roof of the building sounded like a herd of cattle on a stampede. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the supercell storm made it's track off to the southeast.

The first strike against us was the fact that the supercell storm was in the warm and moist section of an advancing cold front. This meant that the storm had all that warm, moist air on which to feed. Also, it was pretty much a loner, and had plenty of space to grow, not being choked off by surrounding storms. According to data from FOX 9 Stormvision, last night's storm reach heights of up to 55,000 feet.

As a thunderstorm grows, so does the updraft. The updraft is the rising warm moist air out ahead of the storm. The air rises to a point where it cools and condenses, forms clouds and precipitation, and then falls back to the ground as the downdraft. This condensation also causes heat to be released, further fueling the storm. The fact that last night's storm was so strong meant the updraft was also strong. This inflow of warm moist air can take precipitation back into the colder higher levels of the storm and freeze it, form the hail. The stronger the updraft, the longer the hail stays suspended, and the bigger it grows. Eventually the hail is too heavy to be supported and then comes falling back to the ground.


Tuesday evening we had golf ball to baseball sized hail across the State. If you have any hailstones souvenirs form last night, here is an interesting chart for you to review. Remember, the stronger the updraft the larger the hail. So, how strong was the storm's updraft at your house? Frazier.

Click on the link below for a timeline of photos from you and other FOX 9 viewers. www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/23057088/severe-weather-chance-for-afternoon-evening-storms




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