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Hail, city, Saudi Arabia
hail, in meteorology
a form of atmospheric precipitation consisting of spherical particles or pieces of ice (hailstones) measuring 5–55 mm and sometimes even more (hailstones measuring 130 mm and weighing 1 kg have been found). Hailstones are composed of transparent ice or layers of transparent ice at least 1 mm thick, alternating with translucent layers. In meteorology, hail is distinguished from granular snow, which consists of opaque white pellets measuring 2–5 mm, which are brittle and easily pulverized.
Hail usually falls during severe thunderstorms in the warm season, when the temperature at the surface of the earth is usually above 20° C, and it falls on a narrow belt a few kilometers wide (sometimes about 10 km) but tens and sometimes even hundreds of kilometers long. The accumulation of fallen hail is usually several centimeters and sometimes tens of centimeters thick. The fall may last from several minutes to half an hour, but most frequently it lasts between five and ten minutes and very rarely for about one hour. Between 500 and 1,000 hailstones fall in one minute on 1 sq m. Their density is 0.5–0.9 g per cu cm, and they fall at a speed of tens of meters per second.
Nuclei of hailstones are formed in supercooled clouds as a result of the random freezing of single droplets. The nuclei may then grow to a considerable size when supercooled droplets collide with them and freeze on them. Large hailstones can be formed only if there are strong upward currents in the clouds that prevent the hailstones from falling to earth for a long time.
Hail can cause a great deal of damage to agriculture by destroying crops and vineyards. In the USSR radar methods have been developed for determining the possible formation and danger of hail in clouds, and services for preventing hail have been established in Georgia, Moldavia, and other parts of the country. The prevention of hail is based on the principle of introducing special reagents into the cloud—usually lead iodide or silver iodide, which promote the freezing of supercooled drops. The reagent is introduced by means of rockets or shells fired into the supercooled part of the cloud. This produces an enormous number of artificial crystallizing nuclei on which the ice crystals begin to grow, and the supercooled water in the clouds, which is the main source of growth of the hailstones, is distributed over a considerably larger number of the stones. Consequently, they attain a much smaller size and melt completely or to a large extent in the warm layers of air before they reach the earth’s surface. Thus, hail is completely prevented, or its intensity and the size of its stones are substantially reduced.
REFERENCESZhenev, R. Grad. Leningrad, 1966. (Translated from French.)
Fizika oblakov i aktivnykh vozdeistvii: Trudy Vsesoiuznoi kon-ferentsii po aktivnym vozdeistviiam na gradovye protsessy, 26–29 marta 1968 g. Edited by G. K. Sulakvelidze and Kh. Kh. Medaliev. Leningrad, 1969.
I. P. MAZIN
soft hail and ice (small) hail, a form of atmospheric precipitation. Soft hail consists of granules 2-5 mm in diameter with snowlike structure; it is formed when snowflakes from the upper part of a cloud fall to an underlying cloud layer, which consists of minute supercooled drops. Ice (small) hail consists of granules 2-5 mm in diameter that are transparent at the surface and have a small white core; it is formed upon collision of soft hail with larger supercooled drops in a lower cloud layer. Soft hail and ice hail fall most often in the spring during unstable weather conditions.
a city in northern Saudi Arabia, situated in an oasis. Population, approximately 20,000. Hail is linked by roads with Riyadh and Medina. It is a center of commerce and handicrafts.