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A look at hail in West Texas

Why is hail such a prevalent part of severe weather in the region?

ODESSA, Texas —

Why do we see so much hail in West Texas? It's definitely the most prevalent part of severe weather season for us.

We average eight confirmed tornadoes in the region every year. So, we get some, but not a lot.

We also average 43 severe wind reports, that's wind gusts of at least 60 mph.

But when it comes to severe hail reports, that trumps them all, with over 150 of those reports every year in West Texas.

To trace that all back, first, we have to figure out exactly why hail forms in a thunderstorm.

The storms all have updrafts in them that bring air to the top. Frozen water droplets are also brought way above the freezing level in these storms.

The hailstone gets bigger and bigger, and at some point, the hailstone is so big the updraft can't handle it anymore, so that stone falls to the ground.

So basically, the stronger the updraft, the bigger the hailstone is going to be.

Hail is so prevalent in West Texas because the cold and dry air mass that's coming down from the Rocky Mountains, combines with the warm and humid air mass coming up from the Gulf of Mexico.

Those two air masses come together and create a lot of instability in the atmosphere. Instability means stronger updrafts, which means bigger and more frequent hail.

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