Al asked in Science & MathematicsWeather · 8 months ago

what determines whether it snows or hails?

I live in FL and last year during a thunderstorm hail was falling. It didn't snow though. Isn't snow and hail just ice. What's the difference between snow and hail?

5 Answers

  • 8 months ago

    All precipitation actually starts off as snow when it comes out of clouds initially, keep in mind clouds can be upwards of 40k feet, which means temperatures are below freezing when precip starts. When the precip hits above freezing temperatures it transitions into rain, and falls as rain as it hits the ground, none of it freezes.

    Whats the difference between snow and hail? Snow is ice that falls from the sky, but it melts slightly as it comes into brief mild air, it reforms/reshapes into a snowflake, and hence it falls as snow. Hail is just ice crystals that fall from the clouds, usually this occurs in the upper atmosphere aloft during thunderstorms, its an ice crystal that falls and when it hits the ground it falls as a chunk ranging from pea sized all the way up to baseball sized hail.

  • 8 months ago

    In the top of a storm, water droplets crystallize into patterns dictated by the nature of water molecules, forming snowflakes. These flakes eventually get heavier than the air supporting them and begin to descend. If the air between them and the ground is not warm enough to melt them, they remain snowflakes. If the air is warm enough to melt them, they turn back into raindrops on the way down. If the drops then encounter a strong updraft, they may be blown back up into the top of the cloud, where they freeze again into a less impressive shape. They then start to fall and melt again, are picked up by the updraft, and the process repeats itself until the ice stone is too heavy for the updraft to sustain it anymore. It then falls as hail.

    Hail is much more commonly associated with warm season thunderstorms than with winter storms because layers and mixtures of warm and cool air are required to produce storms that have strong updrafts. These conditions are most likely to happen in spring and fall, and can occur frequently in the summer. They are less common in the winter.

  • 8 months ago

    Snow is nice and fluffy.  Hail is hard balls of ice.

  • 8 months ago

    Hail is frozen rain.

    Snow starts with cloud that's below freezing. Tiny ice crystals grow from scratch and get gradually bigger.

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  • Anonymous
    8 months ago

    Just google it. Really. 

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