Hail Map ResourceHail Map

A hail map can identify the precise location a storm hit. Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It is distinct from American sleet (called ice pellets outside of the United States). It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is called a hailstone. Sleet (ice pellets) falls generally in cold weather while hail does best during warm surface temperatures.

Hail is precipitation in the form of rounded pellets of ice and hard snow that usually falls during thunderstorms. Hail forms when raindrops are blown up and down within a cloud. These raindrops pass repeatedly through layers of warm and freezing air collecting layers of ice until they are too heavy for the winds to keep them from falling.

Unlike graupel, which is made of rime, and ice pellets, hailstones consist mostly of water ice and measure between  0.2 inches and 6 inches in diameter. The METAR reporting code for hail 5 mm (0.20 in) or greater is GR, while smaller hailstones and graupel are coded GS.

Hail is possible within most thunderstorms as it is produced by cumulonimbi clouds. And within 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) of the parent storm. Hail formation requires a strong upward motion of air with the parent thunderstorm (similar to tornadoes) and lowered heights of the freezing level. In the mid-latitudes, hail forms near the interiors of continents, while in the tropics, it tends to be confined to high elevations.

There are methods available to detect hail-producing thunderstorms using weather satellites and weather radar imagery. A hail map is an invaluable resource. Hailstones generally fall at higher speeds as they grow in size, though complicating factors such as melting, friction with air, wind, and interaction with rain and other hailstones can slow their descent through Earth’s atmosphere. Severe weather warnings are issued for hail when the stones reach a damaging size, as it can cause serious damage to human-made structures and, most commonly, farmers’ crops.


Hail Map Resources Hail Map Resources

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Related Information:

Weather Resources

Hail Watch

Adjuster License


Hail Map Resource