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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Texas Weather - Hail - #TidbitThursday


Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. This week I'm veering off the normal historical path to investigate Texas weather, something that often plays a role in my stories.

Parts of Texas are plagued by hail storms which can cause lots of damage. In April 2016, San Antonio endured one of the costliest storm in recorded Texas history - up to $1.4 Billion in claims, which beat the previous record of $1.1 Billion in Fort Worth in May 1995. A lot of these storms just pop up with little warning.

How does hail form? During thunderstorms, updrafts (air currents from below) move upward to meet super-cooled water droplets. Technically there are 2 methods to form hail or hailstones (Wet and Dry Growth), but to keep it simple for this post, we'll just focus on Wet Growth. For Wet Growth, a small ice nucleus will form and as water droplets hit it, they get frozen to it and start forming a ball. As this ball gets heavier, it starts to fall gaining momentum and speed. It's possible for the ball to keep getting looped up through this system to add more layers of ice.

The largest hail stone ever recorded was in South Dakota - 8 inches diameter - on July 23, 2010.

For Texas, the largest recorded was 6 inches diameter - on June 12, 2010 in Moore County.

Typical hailstone sizes: Pea (1/4" diameter), Marble (1/2" diameter), Dime (3/4" diameter), Quarter (1" diameter), Golf Ball (1 3/4" diameter), Baseball (2 3/4" diameter), and Softball (4 1/2" diameter)

An interesting side-note about a town named Hail, Texas:
Between 1845 and 1850, a wagon train settled in an area of today's Fannin County. They built a school house, a church, then a grocery store, and in 1894 they acquired a post office. The people wanted to name the town Clarksville, after one of the founding couples, Elijah and Nancy Clark, but that name already existed in Texas. So the town's people wrote suggestions down and Elijah drew one from a hat - Hail (so named because of all the hail storms in this area).
Interested in learning more about Hail, Texas? Check out this site: https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrh05


Photo Credit: http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/living_wx/hail/index.html

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