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Small Hail


Definition: Small hail: Precipitation of translucent ice particles that falls from a cloud. These particles are almost always spherical and sometimes have conical tips. Their diameter may approach and even exceed 5 mm.

Small hail always occurs in showers from Cumulonimbus.

Small hail consists of snow pellets totally or partially encased in a layer of ice. Gaps within the snow pellets are filled with ice, or ice and water; a thin shell only may be frozen. The water may come from cloud drops or partial melting of snow pellets. The density of small hail is relatively high; it ranges from 0.8 g/cm3 to, in rare examples, 0.99 g/cm3.

Usually, small hail is not easily crushable; when it falls on hard ground it bounces with an audible sound on impact.

Small hail is an intermediate stage between the snow pellet and the hailstone. It differs from the snow pellet in its partially smooth surface and its higher density. It differs from the hailstone particularly in its smaller size.

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