What is a Hailstorm?

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What is a Hailstorm? Blog Image


An intense hailstorm recently caused massive damage to the crops and fruits in south Kashmir’s Kulgam and Shopian districts.

About Hailstorm:

  • Hail is a type of solid rain made up of balls or lumps of ice.
  • Storms that produce hail that reaches the ground are known as hailstorms. 
  • They typically last for no more than 15 minutes but can cause injuries to people and damage buildings, vehicles, and crops.
  • They are most common in the midlatitudes.
  • Hailstorms can sometimes be accompanied by other severe weather eventssuch as cyclones and tornadoes. 
  • Size: The size of hailstones can vary widely, from small pellets less than 1/4 inch in diameter to larger stones measuring several inches in size.
  • Conditions for Hailstorms to occur:
    • Highly developed Cumulonimbus clouds need to be present. These are the massive anvil or mushroom-shaped clouds that are seen during thunderstorms, which can reach heights of up to 65,000 feet.
    • There must be strong currents of air ascending through these clouds. These currents are commonly known as updrafts.
    • The clouds will need to contain high concentrations of supercooled liquid water.
  • How are Hails formed?
    • It begins as a water droplet that is swept up by an updraft inside of a thundercloud.
    • Other supercooled water droplets which are already present inside the cloud will adhere to the water droplet’s surfaceforming layers of ice around it.
    • As the water droplet reaches higher elevations within the cloud, it comes into contact with more and more supercooled particles
    • The hail embryo will grow larger and larger as it reaches higher altitudes in the updraft.
    • Finally, it will reach a size and weight where gravity will begin to act on it and pull it down.
    • Large hailstones are often characterized by alternating layers of clear and opaque icecaused by irregular rates of freezing.


Q1) What is a Tropical cyclone?

A tropical cyclone is a rapid rotating storm originating over tropical oceans from where it draws the energy to develop. It has a low pressure centre and clouds spiraling towards the eyewall surrounding the "eye", the central part of the system where the weather is normally calm and free of clouds. Its diameter is typically around 200 to 500 km, but can reach 1000 km. A tropical cyclone brings very violent winds, torrential rain, high waves and, in some cases, very destructive storm surges and coastal flooding.

Source: Hailstorm in Kulgam, Shopian damages harvest-ready apple