EXPLAINER: How does hail form?

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many residents across western Massachusetts saw thunderstorms Saturday and some even saw hail, raising the question: how does hail form?

Usually on days when thunderstorms are forecasted, if you look at the clouds that contain thunderstorms, you can see that they are very tall and go high up into the atmosphere. These clouds contain updrafts, which is rising air within the cloud that carries water moisture and droplets from the surface.

Once these water droplets get lifted into the cloud, they rise above a freezing point at which the air within the cloud is below 32 degrees allowing the water droplets to freeze into ice.

As they are in the cloud they continue to accumulate moisture onto them until they get too heavy for the updraft to support the ice crystals and they fall to the surface as what we know as hail.



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