The Jasper Hail Stick

| May 6, 2011 @ 11:13 am | 10 Replies

Let me just say up front that I cannot verify the authenticity of this image, but I can say it’s certainly plausible. This picture of an ice-covered “hailstone” (more like “hail stick”) came in earlier this week from Jasper. Given the amount of debris scattered all over Alabama and the South, you have to think this is certainly possible.

An explanation? Hailstones form due to the turbulent nature of thunderstorm updrafts and downdrafts. All hailstones form because of some kind of nucleus that gets covered in ice in the sub-freezing part of a thunderstorm. That nucleus gets tossed up and down between the coldest and warmest parts of the cumulonimbus cloud. When it falls into the warmer segment, it gets covered in water, then it blows back up to the top to freeze again. Every time this cycle happens, the hail stone grows.

Hail Formation Diagram from NC State University (https://hatteras.meas.ncsu.edu/secc_edu/SevereWeather/body)

So, a stick could surely be a “nucleus” if it gets swept up into the highest parts of the thunderstorm. I’ve never seen anything quite like this…have you?

-Jason
Twitter: @simpson3340
Facebook: Jason Michael Simpson

Category: Pictures

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