We see hail a lot in North Dakota. But how it forms is nothing short of remarkable. You have to head to around thirty thousand feet in the sky to find the answers.
Water droplets get pulled higher into the storm by the updraft. These water droplets – which become frozen – will rise and fall inside the storm. Each time, because the temperatures are well below freezing, new frozen layers will form to make a bigger piece of hail. Once the hail is too big to be suspended by the updraft inside the storm, it will fall to the ground.
Hail comes in many sizes… we see a lot of pea size hail to ping pong ball size. Anything an inch and larger is considered severe. So basically, anything the size of a quarter and larger can do damage.
The largest hailstone ever recorded in the US was in July of 2010 in Vivian, South Dakota. It was 8 inches… or the size of a volleyball!. It had a circumference of just over 18 inches and weighed just under two pounds. When it fell, it made a 10-inch indention in the ground.