A chance of hail on a sweltering hot day? A weather forecaster explains why

A summer thunderstorm can create some dramatic skies. Picture: MARK HUNTER

A summer thunderstorm can create some dramatic skies. Picture: MARK HUNTER - Credit: citizenside.com

With the sun beating down and temperatures soaring it is hard to imagine hailstones falling.

But forecasters say there is a 30% chance of a thunderstorm developing today, with the possibility of hailstones up to 1.5cm in diameter.

Jim Bacon, forecaster at Weatherquest, says you are actually more likely to see hail in summer than winter.

“Snow is more of a winter thing however hail is something made in big thunderstorms, clouds called cumulo nimbus,” he said.

“If the storm becomes strong, their updraft becomes strong.

“They can suspend quite large lumps of ice in the clouds


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“If you go back to how rain is made, the top half of the cloud will be below freezing.

“There will be snow flakes present, even in the summer.

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“If they clump together and then fall down through the cloud they can get covered in a film of liquid water which creates a layer of ice.

“Because they have updrafts and down drafts, you can get a cluster of this ice going up and down through a cloud.

“The whole thing can go round and round, building up layers of ice like a gobstopper.

“If you look at a piece of hail from a summer hailstorm and slice it in half you will see layers of clear and opaque ice.

“Eventually the outcome is that the hailstones will grow to a size that will fall through the updraft.

“This gives us the ability to say how big the hailstorms will be.

“You need energy and moisture to create these big thunderclouds so it is exactly the type of whether to see it.

“You have got to disassociate that everything with ice in it comes in winter.”

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