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Hail is a form of solid
precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw mod ...
. It is distinct from
ice pellets Ice pellets are a form of precipitation (meteorology), precipitation consisting of small, translucent balls of ice. Ice pellets are different from graupel ("soft hail") which is made of frosty white hard rime, rime, and from rain and snow mixed, ...

ice pellets
(American English "sleet"), though the two are often confused. It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is called a hailstone. Ice pellets generally fall in cold weather, while hail growth is greatly inhibited during cold surface temperatures. Unlike other forms of
water iceWater ice could refer to: *Ice Ice is water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constit ...

water ice
precipitation, such as
graupel Graupel (; ), also called soft hail, corn snow, hominy snow, or snow pellets, is precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences Atmospheric science is the study of the Earth's atmosphere File:Atmo ...

graupel
(which is made of
rime ice Rime ice forms when supercooled water liquid droplets freeze onto surfaces. Meteorology, Meteorologists distinguish between three basic types of ice forming on vertical and horizontal surfaces by deposition of supercooled water droplets. There are ...

rime ice
),
ice pellets Ice pellets are a form of precipitation (meteorology), precipitation consisting of small, translucent balls of ice. Ice pellets are different from graupel ("soft hail") which is made of frosty white hard rime, rime, and from rain and snow mixed, ...

ice pellets
(which are smaller and
translucent In the field of optics, transparency (also called pellucidity or diaphaneity) is the physical property of allowing light to pass through the material without appreciable scattering of light. On a macroscopic scale (one in which the dimensions are ...
), and
snow Snow comprises individual ice Ice is water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). ...

snow
(which consists of tiny, delicately-crystalline flakes or needles), hailstones usually measure between and in diameter. The
METAR METAR is a format for reporting weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloud cover, cloudy. On Earth, most weather phenomena occur ...
reporting code for hail or greater is GR, while smaller hailstones and graupel are coded GS. Hail is possible within most
thunderstorm A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm or a lightning storm, is a storm characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustics, acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere, known as thunder. Relatively weak thunderstorms are s ...

thunderstorm
s (as it is produced by
cumulonimbus Cumulonimbus (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...

cumulonimbus
), as well as within of the parent storm. Hail formation requires environments of strong, upward motion of air with the parent thunderstorm (similar to
tornadoes A tornado is a violently rotating column of air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosp ...
) and lowered heights of the freezing level. In the
mid-latitude The middle latitudes (also called the mid-latitudes, sometimes midlatitudes, or moderate latitudes) are a spatial region on Earth located between the latitudes 23°26'22" and 66°33'39" north, and 23°26'22" and 66°33'39" south. They include Eart ...
s, hail forms near the interiors of continents, while, in the
tropics The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% i ...

tropics
, it tends to be confined to high
elevation The elevation of a geographic Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar Sy ...

elevation
s. There are methods available to detect hail-producing thunderstorms using
weather satellite A weather is a type of that is primarily used to monitor the and of the Earth. Satellites can be ing (covering the entire Earth asynchronously), or (hovering over the same spot on the ). While primarily used to detect the development and m ...
s and
weather radar Weather radar, also called weather surveillance radar (WSR) and Doppler weather radar, is a type of radar Radar (radio detection and ranging) is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (''ranging''), angle, or v ...

weather radar
imagery. Hailstones generally fall at higher speeds as they grow in size, though complicating factors such as melting, friction with air, wind, and interaction with rain and other hailstones can slow their descent through
Earth's atmosphere The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid, gas and plasma). The mo ...

Earth's atmosphere
. Severe weather warnings are issued for hail when the stones reach a damaging size, as it can cause serious damage to human-made structures, and, most commonly, farmers' crops.


Definition

Any thunderstorm which produces hail that reaches the ground is known as a hailstorm. Hail has a diameter of or more. Hailstones can grow to and weigh more than . Unlike ice pellets, hailstones are layered and can be irregular and clumped together. Hail is composed of transparent ice or alternating layers of transparent and translucent ice at least thick, which are deposited upon the hailstone as it travels through the cloud, suspended aloft by air with strong upward motion until its weight overcomes the
updraft In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences Atmospheric science is the study of the Earth's atmosphere File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lowe ...
and falls to the ground. Although the diameter of hail is varied, in the United States, the average observation of damaging hail is between and
golf ball A golf ball is a special ball A ball is a round object (usually spherical, but can sometimes be ovoid An oval (from Latin ''ovum'', "egg") is a closed curve in a plane which resembles the outline of an egg. The term is not very specif ...

golf ball
-sized . Stones larger than 2 cm (0.80 in) are usually considered large enough to cause damage. The
Meteorological Service of Canada The Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC; french: Service météorologique du Canada – SMC) is a division of Environment and Climate Change Canada, which primarily provides public meteorological Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric ...
issues severe thunderstorm warnings when hail that size or above is expected. The US
National Weather Service The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to m ...
has a or greater in diameter threshold, effective January 2010, an increase over the previous threshold of hail. Other countries have different thresholds according to local sensitivity to hail; for instance, grape-growing areas could be adversely impacted by smaller hailstones. Hailstones can be very large or very small, depending on how strong the updraft is: weaker hailstorms produce smaller hailstones than stronger hailstorms (such as
supercell A supercell is a thunderstorm characterized by the presence of a mesocyclone: a deep, persistently rotating vertical draft, updraft. For this reason, these storms are sometimes referred to as rotating thunderstorms. Of the four classifications ...

supercell
s), as the more powerful updrafts in a stronger storm can keep larger hailstones aloft.


Formation

Hail forms in strong
thunderstorm A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm or a lightning storm, is a storm characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustics, acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere, known as thunder. Relatively weak thunderstorms are s ...

thunderstorm
clouds, particularly those with intense
updraft In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences Atmospheric science is the study of the Earth's atmosphere File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lowe ...
s, high liquid water content, great vertical extent, large water droplets, and where a good portion of the cloud layer is below freezing . These types of strong updrafts can also indicate the presence of a tornado. The growth rate of hailstones is impacted by factors such as higher elevation, lower freezing zones, and wind shear.


Layer nature of the hailstones

Like other precipitation in cumulonimbus clouds, hail begins as water droplets. As the droplets rise and the temperature goes below freezing, they become
supercooled Supercooling, also known as undercooling, is the process of lowering the temperature of a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoc ...
water and will freeze on contact with
condensation nuclei Cloud condensation nuclei or CCNs (also known as cloud seeds) are small particles typically 0.2 µm, or 1/100 the size of a cloud In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry a ...
. A cross-section through a large hailstone shows an onion-like structure. This means the hailstone is made of thick and translucent layers, alternating with layers that are thin, white and opaque. Former theory suggested that hailstones were subjected to multiple descents and ascents, falling into a zone of humidity and refreezing as they were uplifted. This up and down motion was thought to be responsible for the successive layers of the hailstone. New research, based on theory as well as field study, has shown this is not necessarily true. The storm's
updraft In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences Atmospheric science is the study of the Earth's atmosphere File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lowe ...
, with upwardly directed wind speeds as high as , blows the forming hailstones up the cloud. As the hailstone ascends it passes into areas of the cloud where the concentration of humidity and supercooled water droplets varies. The hailstone's growth rate changes depending on the variation in humidity and supercooled water droplets that it encounters. The accretion rate of these water droplets is another factor in the hailstone's growth. When the hailstone moves into an area with a high concentration of water droplets, it captures the latter and acquires a translucent layer. Should the hailstone move into an area where mostly water vapor is available, it acquires a layer of opaque white ice. Furthermore, the hailstone's speed depends on its position in the cloud's updraft and its mass. This determines the varying thicknesses of the layers of the hailstone. The accretion rate of supercooled water droplets onto the hailstone depends on the relative velocities between these water droplets and the hailstone itself. This means that generally the larger hailstones will form some distance from the stronger updraft where they can pass more time growing. As the hailstone grows it releases
latent heat Latent heat (also known as latent energy or heat of transformation) is energy released or absorbed, by a body or a thermodynamic system A thermodynamic system is a body of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any su ...
, which keeps its exterior in a liquid phase. Because it undergoes 'wet growth', the outer layer is ''sticky'' (i.e. more adhesive), so a single hailstone may grow by collision with other smaller hailstones, forming a larger entity with an irregular shape. Hail can also undergo 'dry growth' in which the latent heat release through freezing is not enough to keep the outer layer in a liquid state. Hail forming in this manner appears
opaque Opacity or opaque may refer to: * Impediments to (especially, visible) light: ** Opacities, absorption coefficients ** Opacity (optics), property or degree of blocking the transmission of light * Metaphors derived from literal optics: ** Opaque con ...
due to small air bubbles that become trapped in the stone during rapid freezing. These bubbles coalesce and escape during the 'wet growth' mode, and the hailstone is more clear. The mode of growth for a hailstone can change throughout its development, and this can result in distinct layers in a hailstone's cross-section. The hailstone will keep rising in the thunderstorm until its mass can no longer be supported by the updraft. This may take at least 30 minutes based on the force of the updrafts in the hail-producing thunderstorm, whose top is usually greater than 10 km high. It then falls toward the ground while continuing to grow, based on the same processes, until it leaves the cloud. It will later begin to melt as it passes into air above freezing temperature. Thus, a unique trajectory in the thunderstorm is sufficient to explain the layer-like structure of the hailstone. The only case in which multiple trajectories can be discussed is in a multicellular thunderstorm, where the hailstone may be ejected from the top of the "mother" cell and captured in the updraft of a more intense "daughter" cell. This, however, is an exceptional case.


Factors favoring hail

Hail is most common within continental interiors of the mid-latitudes, as hail formation is considerably more likely when the freezing level is below the altitude of .
Movement Movement may refer to: Common uses * Movement (clockwork), the internal mechanism of a timepiece * Motion (physics), commonly referred to as movement Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * Movement (short story), "Movement", a shor ...
of dry air into strong thunderstorms over continents can increase the frequency of hail by promoting evaporational cooling which lowers the freezing level of thunderstorm clouds giving hail a larger volume to grow in. Accordingly, hail is less common in the tropics despite a much higher frequency of thunderstorms than in the mid-latitudes because the atmosphere over the tropics tends to be warmer over a much greater altitude. Hail in the tropics occurs mainly at higher elevations. Hail growth becomes vanishingly small when air temperatures fall below as supercooled water droplets become rare at these temperatures. Around thunderstorms, hail is most likely within the cloud at elevations above . Between and , 60 percent of hail is still within the thunderstorm, though 40 percent now lies within the clear air under the anvil. Below , hail is equally distributed in and around a thunderstorm to a distance of .


Climatology

Hail occurs most frequently within continental interiors at mid-latitudes and is less common in the tropics, despite a much higher frequency of thunderstorms than in the mid-latitudes. Hail is also much more common along mountain ranges because mountains force horizontal winds upwards (known as
orographic lift cloud pattern—analogous to a ship wake Image:Kelvin Wake Fr=2.png, 280px, Kelvin wake simulation plot. In fluid dynamics, a wake may either be: * the region of recirculating flow immediately behind a moving or stationary blunt body, caused by ...
ing), thereby intensifying the updrafts within thunderstorms and making hail more likely. The higher elevations also result in there being less time available for hail to melt before reaching the ground. One of the more common regions for large hail is across mountainous northern
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
, which reported one of the highest hail-related death tolls on record in 1888.
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
also experiences significant hailstorms. Central Europe and southern Australia also experience a lot of hailstorms. Regions where hailstorms frequently occur are southern and western
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
, northern and eastern
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, and southern and eastern
Benelux The Benelux Union ( nl, Benelux Unie; french: Union Benelux; lb, Benelux-Unioun), also known as simply Benelux, is a politico ''Politico'', known originally as ''The Politico'', is an American political journalism Political journalism i ...

Benelux
. In southeastern Europe,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
and
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
experience frequent occurrences of hail. In
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
, hail is most common in the area where
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain West The Mountain West Conference (MW) is one of the collegiate athletic conferences affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association The National Collegiate Athletic ...

Colorado
,
Nebraska Nebraska () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Nebraska
, and
Wyoming Wyoming () is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. The List of U.S. states and territories by area, 10th largest state by area, it is also the List of U.S. states and territories b ...
meet, known as "Hail Alley". Hail in this region occurs between the months of March and October during the afternoon and evening hours, with the bulk of the occurrences from May through September.
Cheyenne, Wyoming Cheyenne ( or ) is the capital and most populous city, with 65,132 residents, of the U.S. state of Wyoming. It is the principal city of the Cheyenne metropolitan area, Cheyenne metropolitan statistical area which encompasses all of Laramie Coun ...
is North America's most hail-prone city with an average of nine to ten hailstorms per season. To the north of this area and also just downwind of the Rocky Mountains is the
Hailstorm Alley __NOTOC__ Hailstorm Alley is a colloquial term referring to an area of south and central Alberta ("Strong and free") , image_map = Alberta in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_ ...
region of
Alberta ("Strong and free") , image_map = Alberta in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = English , capital = Edmonton , largest_city = Calg ...

Alberta
, which also experiences an increased incidence of significant hail events.


Short-term detection

Weather radar Weather radar, also called weather surveillance radar (WSR) and Doppler weather radar, is a type of radar Radar (radio detection and ranging) is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (''ranging''), angle, or v ...

Weather radar
is a very useful tool to detect the presence of hail-producing thunderstorms. However, radar data has to be complemented by a knowledge of current atmospheric conditions which can allow one to determine if the current atmosphere is conducive to hail development. Modern radar scans many angles around the site. Reflectivity values at multiple angles above ground level in a storm are proportional to the precipitation rate at those levels. Summing reflectivities in the Vertically Integrated Liquid or VIL, gives the
liquid water contentThe liquid water content (LWC) is the measure of the mass Mass is both a property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of sa ...
in the cloud. Research shows that hail development in the upper levels of the storm is related to the evolution of VIL. VIL divided by the vertical extent of the storm, called VIL density, has a relationship with hail size, although this varies with atmospheric conditions and therefore is not highly accurate. Traditionally, hail size and probability can be estimated from radar data by computer using algorithms based on this research. Some algorithms include the height of the freezing level to estimate the melting of the hailstone and what would be left on the ground. Certain patterns of reflectivity are important clues for the meteorologist as well. The
three body scatter spike A hail spike or three body scatter spike (TBSS) is an Artifact (error), artifact on a weather radar display indicative of large hail. They are identified by a spike of weak reflectivity echoes that extend out from a thunderstorm, and away from the ...
is an example. This is the result of energy from the radar hitting hail and being deflected to the ground, where they deflect back to the hail and then to the radar. The energy took more time to go from the hail to the ground and back, as opposed to the energy that went directly from the hail to the radar, and the echo is further away from the radar than the actual location of the hail on the same radial path, forming a cone of weaker reflectivities. More recently, the
polarization Polarization or polarisation may refer to: In the physical sciences *Polarization (waves), the ability of waves to oscillate in more than one direction, in particular polarization of light, responsible for example for the glare-reducing effect of ...
properties of weather radar returns have been analyzed to differentiate between hail and heavy rain. The use of differential reflectivity (Z_), in combination with horizontal reflectivity (Z_) has led to a variety of hail classification algorithms. Visible satellite imagery is beginning to be used to detect hail, but false alarm rates remain high using this method.


Size and terminal velocity

The size of hailstones is best determined by measuring their diameter with a ruler. In the absence of a ruler, hailstone size is often visually estimated by comparing its size to that of known objects, such as coins. Using the objects such as hen's eggs, peas, and marbles for comparing hailstone sizes is imprecise, due to their varied dimensions. The UK organisation,
TORRO The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) was founded by Terence Meaden in 1974. Originally called the Tornado Research Organisation it was expanded in 1982 following the inclusion of the Thunderstorm Census Organisation (TCO) after the d ...
, also scales for both hailstones and hailstorms. When observed at an
airport An airport is an aerodrome An aerodrome (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval En ...

airport
,
METAR METAR is a format for reporting weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloud cover, cloudy. On Earth, most weather phenomena occur ...
code is used within a
surface weather observation, Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, ...
which relates to the size of the hailstone. Within METAR code, GR is used to indicate larger hail, of a diameter of at least . GR is derived from the French word ''grêle''. Smaller-sized hail, as well as snow pellets, use the coding of GS, which is short for the French word ''grésil''.
Terminal velocity Terminal velocity is the maximum velocity (speed) attainable by an object as it falls through a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external fo ...

Terminal velocity
of hail, or the speed at which hail is falling when it strikes the ground, varies. It is estimated that a hailstone of in diameter falls at a rate of , while stones the size of in diameter fall at a rate of . Hailstone velocity is dependent on the size of the stone, its
drag coefficient In fluid dynamics In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities o ...
, the motion of
wind Wind is the natural movement of air or other gases relative to a planet's surface. Wind occurs on a range of scales, from thunderstorm A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm or a lightning storm, is a storm characterized by th ...

wind
it is falling through, collisions with raindrops or other hailstones, and melting as the stones fall through a warmer
atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in ...

atmosphere
. As hailstones are not perfect spheres, it is difficult to accurately calculate their drag coefficient - and, thus, their speed.


Hail records

Megacryometeors, large rocks of ice that are not associated with thunderstorms, are not officially recognized by the
World Meteorological Organization The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims ...
as "hail," which are aggregations of ice associated with thunderstorms, and therefore records of extreme characteristics of megacryometeors are not given as hail records. * Heaviest: 1.02 kg (2.25 lb); Gopalganj District, Bangladesh, 14 April 1986. * Largest diameter officially measured: diameter, circumference;
Vivian, South Dakota Vivian is an unincorporated community File:Entering Heinola, Minnesota.jpg, Sign at Heinola, Minnesota, Heinola, an unincorporated community in Otter Tail County, Minnesota An unincorporated area is a region not governed by a local municipal cor ...
, 23 July 2010. * Largest circumference officially measured: circumference, diameter;
Aurora, Nebraska Aurora is a city in Hamilton County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 4,479 at the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census. It is the county seat of Hamilton County. History In 1861, David Millspaw became the first permanent settler in ...
, 22 June 2003. * Greatest average hail precipitation:
Kericho Kericho is the biggest town in Kericho County located in the highlands west of the Kenyan Rift Valley. Standing on the edge of the Mau Forest, Kericho has a warm and temperate climate making it an ideal location for agriculture and in particula ...

Kericho
, Kenya experiences hailstorms, on average, 50 days annually. Kericho is close to the equator and the elevation of 7,200 feet contributes to it being a hot spot for hail. Kericho reached the world record for 132 days of hail in one year.


Hazards

Hail can cause serious damage, notably to automobiles, aircraft, skylights, glass-roofed structures,
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictabl ...
, and most commonly,
crops A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture Agriculture is the ...

crops
. Hail damage to roofs often goes unnoticed until further structural damage is seen, such as leaks or cracks. It is hardest to recognize hail damage on shingled roofs and flat roofs, but all roofs have their own hail damage detection problems. Metal roofs are fairly resistant to hail damage, but may accumulate cosmetic damage in the form of dents and damaged coatings. Hail is one of the most significant thunderstorm hazards to aircraft. When hailstones exceed in diameter, planes can be seriously damaged within seconds. The hailstones accumulating on the ground can also be hazardous to landing aircraft. Hail is also a common nuisance to drivers of automobiles, severely denting the vehicle and cracking or even shattering windshields and
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