Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Hail Vs Snow

The Avengers compared hail and snow after reading 'Hard Ice, Soft Ice' by Bill O'Brien.

Hail and snow are two different forms of precipitation that form in the atmosphere. In Auckland we very rarely experience hail or snow because of our temperate climate. However in other parts of New Zealand hail and snow are a common sight. But what is the difference?

Damaging - Kristy
Both hail and snow can be damaging to many things. Hail can damage fruit crops, orchards, car windows and can actually kill people. In 1985 several people were killed during a massive hail strike in India. Similarly snow can be damaging too because when very dense clouds produce so much snow it causes blizzards. Snow blizzards can snap off tree branches, cause avalanches, collapse buildings and power lines. In 1888 a very large blizzard hit the United States of America when more than 400 people died. The Blizzard left 100 - 127 cm of snow. This caused huge snowdrifts burying houses and trains.

Fall to earth - Ethan and Joshua L
Both snow and hail fall from clouds to the ground. However, snow and hail fall at different speeds. Snow falls lightly and slowly like a feather because it has lots of air in it’s structure. On the other hand, hailstones fall to the ground rapidly at an extreme speed because it is dense and solid.

Freeze - Ella
Snow and hail both freeze within a cloud but why is snow so soft compared to hail? Snow is made when small particles of water vapour in a cloud condense onto a speck of dust and freeze. However this freezing doesn’t happen suddenly turning snow into a solid lump of ice, it freezes one by one so the crystal builds up gradually into a light and feathery form that looks like frost. However on the other hand hail is made when water vapour evaporates into billions of tiny liquid droplets. These water droplets soon get pushed up by the thermals within the cloud and as this happens a new layer of ice is added on the hailstone. After this the hailstone falls back down again but usually the thermals pushes it back again. A hailstone can whiz up and down many times before the thermal can’t hold the hailstones weight and it drops down to earth.

Size - Emily D
Both forms of precipitation can grow large in size. The largest officially recorded hailstone fell near Vivian, South Dakota. It weighed 1.9375 pounds and measured 8.0in in diameter, 18 and a half cm in circumference. The usual size of hail however is the size of a pea. Some hailstones can be as big as a golf ball. Though the biggest hailstones can be the size of a grapefruit or a coconut.  Imagine that falling on your head. Ouch! The largest snowflake was fallen during a storm at Fort Keogh in Montana, It measured 15 inches wide. Snow can also grow quite big it can be the size of your palm. However snowflakes usually grow no bigger than your fingernail.

Large amounts - Samarah
Very rarely large amount of hail falls in Auckland, when hail comes in big amounts it’s known as a hail storm. When large amounts of snow falls it is called a blizzard. Both forms of precipitation can be very dangerous when they fall in vast amounts.

Conclusion - Michael
Overall, if we had to we would prefer to be in a blizzard compared to a hailstorm. Hail is more damaging than snow because the size and the speed of a clump of hail could actually kill someone if it hit their head. Snow can still cause a lot of damage like causing buildings to collapse however due to the speed it usually falls you have more time to move to a safer area.

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