Last week we got another big hail storm in late March. Gene Stovall of Austin was wondering why we get our biggest hail events so early in the spring.
On March 25 you may want to keep the car in the garage because the worst and most expensive hail storms in Austin history have occurred on this day in 2009, 1993 and 2005. All three had a price tag 100 million dollars or more.
The key ingredients for big hail events are very strong updrafts and super cold air aloft. As the raindrops float around way up in the clouds, they freeze and melt over and over so they can grow up into bigger chunks of ice. If the updrafts or rising motions are strong there is a better chance of huge hailstones.
The largest hail storms happen early spring because of the lingering winter chill aloft. The freezing layer is closer to the ground so hailstones don't melt as much as they travel toward the ground.
During late spring and summer, the freezing layer is higher in the clouds so the hail has better chance of melting into smaller chunks of ice before reaching us.
Keep in mind, hail is not considered severe unless it reaches 1" in diameter or larger. So if the hailstones are the size of quarters the damage to property begins and if they get to golf ball or baseball sized hail it becomes very destructive.
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