We get incredible photos sent in of thunderstorms both severe and non-severe. With our vast prairie land, we can see for miles which means we can see entire structures of storms. Something we get asked about a lot is the green color the storm clouds turn. You’ve more than likely seen it a time or two.
When you see the green color in storm clouds, that means there’s usually hail. Sunlight is refracting through the ice that makes up the hailstones. It then shines towards your eyes as a green color. This doesn’t always mean you’ll have hail falling on you… some of that hail can fall and melt as rain before it hits the ground.
Hail forms when raindrops are carried in the updraft of a storm to the coldest layers of the atmosphere where they freeze. They grow by colliding with other liquid water drops that will freeze on the hailstone’s surface. They’re considered damaging when they grow to at least the size of a quarter. Hail from quarter-sized to golf ball-sized can fall between 25 and 40 mph towards the earth. Some of the largest hailstones, the size of softballs, can fall at over 100 mph. The states that get the most hail are Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. But the largest hailstone ever recorded fell in Vivian, South Dakota on June 23rd of 2010. It was 8 inches in diameter which is the size of a volleyball. Hail causes one billion dollars annually in crop and property damage in the United States.