After a record high Friday it looks like another record will fall Saturday as the ridge of high pressure shifts slightly to the east, nudging our high temperatures up to near the century mark. All that heat will allow a little afternoon cloudiness to build up Saturday afternoon, with a slight chance of a mainly mountain thundershower, and the chance of those happening again on Sunday goes up slightly, but is still relatively small. Highs stay in the 90s into the middle of next week before falling to the low 80s toward next weekend.

hail_storms

In other matters, it sure looks like the temperatures have recovered from last week’s little arctic blast. And speaking of warmer temperatures, Theo wondered “Why in the world does it hail when the temp is about 90 degrees? The rain I understand, but the little snow balls quite surprised me.”

One problem that Theo has is to put hail and snow in the same category. They are actually two very different animals. Snow falls as individual crystals of ice all the way from the cloud to the ground. Because they are usually quite small and light (in addition to having a lot of surface area for their weight, turning them into mini-parachutes), they don’t fall very fast, and will melt before reaching the ground if the air column isn’t cold enough all the way down.

hail

Hail, on the other hand, forms due to fairly violent updrafts in thunderstorms, and is composed of solid balls of ice. These can grow to a large size, many times as massive as a single snowflake. Hail has been known to grow to softball size, but even pea-sized pellets far outweigh your average snowflake. That, combined with their round dense shape which allows them to fall very fast means they can make it to the ground as ice before they have a chance to melt.

Even in 90 degree heat.

 

 

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