Hail is a form of precipitation which consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice. It forms on condensation nuclei such as dust, insects, or ice crystals. When super-cooled, water freezes on contact.
Once a hailstone is too heavy to be supported by the storm's updraft, it falls out of the cloud. These hailstones can range from pea-sized to softball-sized clusters of ice, with large stones falling at speeds faster than 100 mph.
Before the hail storm:
- Learn to recognize the weather conditions that cause hail storms.
- Listen to your NOAA weather radio and local news and radio stations for hail storm watches or warnings.
- If weather conditions are prime for hail storms, consider pulling property under covered areas.
- As hail is usually paired with severe thunderstorms and/or tornados, follow the safety procedures specified for the most severe threat.
If a severe thunderstorm has been predicted to produce hail, you should:
- Seek shelter immediately. Any size hail can be dangerous in high winds.
- Listen to your NOAA weather radio, local news and radio for updates on weather conditions and emergency instructions.