[Ref ISBN978-1-56027-901-3, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, FAA-H-8083-25B Page 12-17]
Supercooled drops above the freezing level begin to freeze. Once a drop has frozen, other drops latch on and freeze to it, so the hailstone grows—sometimes into a huge ice ball. Eventually, the hailstones fall, possibly some distance from the storm core.
Sometimes, hail may be encountered in clear air several miles from thunderstorm clouds.
As hailstones fall through air whose temperature is above 0 °C, they begin to melt and precipitation may reach the ground as either hail or rain. Rain at the surface does not mean the absence of hail aloft. Possible hail should be anticipated with any thunderstorm, especially beneath the anvil of a large cumulonimbus.
Hail implies the thunderstorm has been entering mature stage
Hailstones larger than one-half inch in diameter can significantly damage an aircraft in a few seconds.
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