WeatherWeather Science


Taking science by storm: all about hail

Posted at 4:02 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 07:13:15-04

Hail is a dangerous, yet interesting form of severe weather.

Definition: Hail is precipitation in the form of balls or irregular lumps of ice, always produced by convective clouds, nearly always cumulonimbus.

Definition: An updraft is bouyant air that is warmer than the surrounding environment, which rises up in a thunderstorm.

Definition: A downdraft is sinking, cooler air, which contains the precipitation in a thunderstorm.

Watch the video above for an experiment demonstrating how hail forms, including a detailed explanation. Remember to take notes!


Time: 10-15 min


  • hair dryer
  • ping pong balls (2 or more)


  1. Turn on hairdryer on a low and cool setting. Orient so air is flowing directly upwards.
  2. Add one ping pong ball into the air stream. Observe.
  3. Tilt the hairdryer to a 45 degree angle. Observe.
  4. Orient hairdryer directly upwards again, and add another ping pong ball. Repeat for as many balls as you want!

Post Experiment Questions:

  1. How did the ping pong ball behave in the air stream?
  2. How does this experiment related to hail within a thunderstorm?
  3. What happened when you added multiple ping pong balls?
  4. Why do raindrops or hail finally fall to the ground?

Hey kids! Thanks for checking out Taking Science by Storm. Is there a science topic you would like to learn more about? Contact Alex at