As the world’s climate changes and weather events get more extreme and strong, even seemingly inocuous small storms may evolve into killers.
In various locations across the world, in the last three or four months ordinary storms have caused extraordinary damage, but not because of thunder or floods: in some occassions, hail was to blame for extensive and expensive damage.
Hail has always been bothersome for most people, but especially dangerous for farmers as well as aviators because the ice BBs falling from the sky can destroy crops and cause very serious damage to aircraft. Indeed, quite a number of fatal aviation accidents were cause by encounters with hail. All cumulonimbus type clouds are associated with hail, and pilots, agricultors and those who know about empyrical meteorology almost always try to avoid getting beneath or into them, or at least try to protect themselves and their properties from the effects of falling ice.
The size, and thus, the energy of each ice ball depends on many factors that essentially are related to the convective energy that each cumulonimbus or funnel cloud has: the more of it, the longer will water aggregate over the minute ice crystals that seed the growth of each snow flake and each hail bullet. In the case of snow – the process of its fomation is a little different – very little energy is required to form each flake, but hail balls are different indeed, heavier and more massive, thus more difficult to keep floating inside the cloud while accumulating layer after layer of water.
So, if pellets that sometimes reach the size of a fist are formed, it is easy to deduce that the amount of convection inside the cloud must be enormous, and then the balls fall when ascending currents cannot keep them cycling up and down the cloud anymore, and when they do, they can act literally like shrapnel from a bombing run.
Some cities in Argentina and Spain have recently experienced these bombardments, and these rare events are repeating themselves with peculiar frequency. If this goes on, maybe hail will become more destructive than thunder, and insurance companies will have to change their policies so that falling ice will not lead them to bankrupcy.