Severe Weather Awareness Week: The dangers of straight-line winds and hail

Weather News

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – As Severe Weather Awareness Week continues, we are taking a look at two different types of thunderstorm hazards: straight-line winds and hail.

Straight-line winds are commonly caused by a gust front from the downbursts within a thunderstorm.

This downdraft can be referred to as a macroburst or a microburst depending on the size of the area affected. Still, the damage can be as devastating as a tornado because winds can exceed 125 mph within downburst. 

Hail is the second hazard we can see during thunderstorms.

Hail happens when the updraft of a thunderstorm carries raindrops higher into the clouds. As you move up in the atmosphere temperatures cool.

So, these raindrops will become frozen the higher up they are pushed.  These hailstones will only fall once they become too heavy to be supported by the updraft.

Hail can cause more than $1 billion in damage to crops and property each year.

They can range from pea size (1/4 inch diameter) to grapefruit size (4.5 inches). The largest hailstone ever recovered was 8-inches and weighed about 1 lb 15oz. 

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