Pat Shingleton: "The Hailstone"
As our Chief Meteorologist, Josh Eachus, will advance in this discussion this morning, the Severe Storm Prediction Center has targeted our are with a "Slight Risk" of severe weather early Saturday morning. This just above the Moderate Category and well below the Moderate and High Risks, on a scale of one to five. The major threat within the "Slight Risk" includes gusty winds and possible hail. As of this writing the main threat could occur between 5:00 AM Saturday morning until 4:00 PM Saturday afternoon. With that noted, experts believe that hailstones accumulate layers by rising and falling through updrafts and downdrafts within the storm cell. A developing hailstone moves into a weak updraft and tumbles down into a region of super-cooled water droplets. The hailstone gathers a film of chilly water that immediately turns to ice. The pellet may fall for a considerable distance, catching an upward blast of air, then propels into freezing temperatures to gain another layer of ice. Other experts contend that instead of riding up and down in the drafts of thunderstorms, the hailstone develops from a small nucleus into a larger pellet in one, long, continuous descent. During the slow fall, the ice stone may remain almost stationary at times, suspended by powerful updrafts. As it floats through the layers of clouds, more coating occurs.