Weather: 11 cm hailstone, is it possible in France?

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On Tuesday August 30, a 20-month-old girl died in Catalonia, and 30 people were injured. The cause: a hailstorm during a particularly violent storm, reports Le Parisien. According to local authorities, a hailstone “fallen on her head”. Following the trauma, the girl would not have survived.

Despite the short space of time during which the hail fell on the town of La Bisbal d’Empordà, approximately ten minutes, considerable damage would have been caused on impact.

And for good reason ! It was not a few ice cubes that fell from the sky, but real balls of ice “reaching up to 11 cm in diameter”, explains Carme Vall, the municipal councilor of the town hall.

Météo France has placed 82 of the 96 departments of France on storm yellow vigilance, in its bulletin of September 1, 2022. This therefore leaves the possibility of seeing localized hailstorms in the coming hours.

This size can only be reached by the merger of several hailstones, informs Christophe Person, weather journalist from BFMTV.

“What happens in a supercell storm – the type of thunderstorms that give tornadoes, hail, strong gusts of wind – is that there are a lot of updrafts, winds capable of going up already small hailstones high in the sky, more than 10 kilometers away, and they can stick together with the water. The water will freeze, and it gives huge hailstones”.

The phenomenon is therefore entirely possible. It has also already happened, with specimens of eight centimeters in Châteauroux, in May, as indicated by BFMTV.