From Glossary of Meteorology


Precipitation in the form of balls or irregular lumps of ice, always produced by convective clouds, nearly always cumulonimbus.

An individual unit of hail is called a hailstone. By convention, hail has a diameter of 5 mm or more, while smaller particles of similar origin, formerly called small hail, may be classed as either ice pellets or snow pellets. Thunderstorms that are characterized by strong updrafts, large liquid water contents, large cloud-drop sizes, and great vertical height are favorable to hail formation. The destructive effects of hailstorms upon plant and animal life, buildings and property, and aircraft in flight render them a prime object of weather modification studies. In aviation weather observations, hail is encoded A.