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Burst of hail in Orange as wet patch to continue

August 13, 2022

Hail on a car in Orange. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

Hail fell in Orange at about midday on Saturday.

The small pellets - less than the size of a low-grade pea - came tumbling down bang on noon, and lasted only 15 minutes.

Soon blue skies were jostling with moody grey clouds for domination over the dome. Then, around 1pm, came the thunder.

The wet weather is forecast to continue for another three days, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Sunday’s minimum is predicted to be 2C, with a maximum of 8C. There is a 95 percent chance of rain, with 4-6mm expected, most likely in the morning and afternoon. Cloudy, with winds westerly 20 to 30km/h.

Clouds and blue skies about 12:20pm Saturday. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Monday’s temperature forecast is the same as Sunday’s, with 95 percent of rain (3-6mm). Showers are more likely in the afternoon and evening.

There is a 90 percent chance of rain on Tuesday, with 3-8C the forecast low and high. There is a 90 percent chance of rain (2-4mm) and showers are most likely in the morning and afternoon. Westerly winds 20 to 30km/h tending southwesterly 15 to 25km/h during the afternoon.

The bureau released a flood warning on Friday afternoon for Central West inland rivers from Saturday.

“A cold front associated with a low pressure system is bringing showers or rain areas to parts of western New South Wales for the remainder of Friday into the weekend.

“This rainfall may cause minor flooding along … Central West inland NSW rivers. Renewed rises and major flooding is also possible along the Macquarie River which experienced flooding due the rainfall last week and has a flood warning current.”

There is a “minor” flooding risk on the Macquarie River to Bathurst, and a “minor to major” flooding risk on the Macquarie River downstream of Burrendong Dam.

A hail explainer from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

What is hail?

Hailstones are clumps of layered ice that form in updraughts (rising air) within thunderstorms.

Hailstones start as water vapour condensing into tiny water droplets that exist inside the updraught.

Temperatures in the middle and upper parts of thunderstorm clouds can be very cold, even during the summer months.

As the droplets are swept upwards into, or form inside, this very cold environment, they become "super-cooled". This means they're colder than 0C, but still liquid.

They freeze into small ice balls (called "hail embryos") if they come into contact with tiny particles in the air, such as a speck of dust or dirt, or a salt crystal.

Growth into a fully fledged hailstone happens in the "hail growth zone", where the updraught air temperature is –10C to –25C. Here, hail embryos collide with super-cooled water droplets, causing them to freeze on impact.

Once the hailstones have collided with enough of these droplets, building up in size, they become heavy enough to sink faster than the upward air motion that had previously suspended them.

That's when they begin to fall.

[From the Bureau of Meteorology]

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