The National Weather Service reports that Hail is a form of precipitation consisting of solid ice that forms inside thunderstorm updrafts. Hail can damage aircraft, homes and cars, and can be deadly to livestock and people. Hailstones are formed when raindrops are carried upward by thunderstorm updrafts into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere and freeze. Hailstones then grow by colliding with liquid water drops that freeze onto the hailstone’s surface. Hail falls when it becomes heavy enough to overcome the strength of the thunderstorm updraft and is pulled toward the earth by gravity. Although Florida has the most thunderstorms, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming usually have the most hailstorms. The area where these three states meet – “hail alley” – averages seven to nine hail days per year. Other parts of the world that have damaging hailstorms include China, Russia, India, Bangladesh and northern Italy. The largest hailstone recovered in the United States fell in Vivian, South Dakota, with a weight of 1 lb. 15 oz. But the world’s heaviest hailstone fell on April 14, 1986 in the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh. It likely fell to the ground at 90 mph and it weighed 2.25 lbs.
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