IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


17th October, 2023 Geography

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  • A severe hailstorm recently wreaked havoc on crops and fruits in south Kashmir's Kulgam and Shopian districts.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast rain and snow in Jammu and Kashmir over the next two days.
  • On Sunday, IMD said the weather remained mostly dry in most areas of J&K.

About Hail Storm

  • Hail is a sort of solid rain that consists of ice balls or lumps.
  • Hailstorms are storms that create hail that falls to the earth.
  • They normally last no more than 15 minutes but can cause injuries and damage to buildings, vehicles, and other structures.
  • They are most common in the midlatitudes.
  • Hailstorms are sometimes accompanied by other types of extreme weather, such as cyclones and tornadoes.
  • Hailstones range in size from microscopic pellets less than 1/4 inch in diameter to massive stones several inches in diameter.

Condition for Hail Storms to Occur

  • The presence of well-developed Cumulonimbus clouds is required for hailstorms to occur.
  • These are the gigantic anvil or mushroom-shaped clouds that can reach heights of 65,000 feet during thunderstorms.
  • Strong air currents must be climbing through these clouds. These currents are frequently referred to as updrafts.
  • High amounts of supercooled liquid water will be required in the clouds.

How does Hails from?

  • It all starts with a water droplet being carried up by an updraft inside a thundercloud.
  • Other supercooled water droplets already existing in the cloud will attach to the surface of the water droplet, producing layers of ice around it.
  • As the water droplet ascends through the cloud, it comes into touch with an increasing number of supercooled particles.
  • As it ascends higher in the updraft, the hail embryo grows larger and larger.
  • Finally, it will grow to a size and weight that will cause gravity to operate on it and draw it down.
  • Large hailstones are frequently distinguished by alternating layers of clear and opaque ice created by uneven freezing rates.

Favorable conditions for a hailstorm

Hail forms in the strong updraft region of a thunderstorm. Atmospheric conditions favorable for the formation hail bearing thunderstorms are:

  • The high degree of instability,
  • High moisture content,
  • Low freezing level,
  • High vertical wind shear.


Discuss the primary factors that determine temperature, precipitation, and wind distribution on the Earth's surface. How do these variables alter among climatic zones?