Learning Lesson: Updrafts in Action

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Cloud to ground lightning in a storm chase, 1980

ERN Item Type: 

  • Classroom Activities


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service (NWS)


Rain and hail will be suspended by the updraft inside a thunderstorm until the weight of the hail and water can no longer by supported. Usually, the stronger the updraft in a thunderstorm, the more intense the storm and the larger size of hail that can be produced. Suspending a ping pong ball in th estream of air supplied by a hair dryer will demonstrate how hail is supported in thunderstorms.

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