Could it become easier to predict hailstorms? Meteorologist Victor Gensini thinks so. He recently led a Northern Illinois University study that identified a method to predict the likelihood of hailstorms up to three weeks in advance.
It turns out that there is a relationship between jet stream patterns over the Pacific Ocean and hailstorm frequency in our country. If you were to look at a weather map and see what looks like a very wavy jet stream, then the likelihood of hail increases.
Gensini’s work is being published in the journal entitled Geophysical Research Letters if you care to read more about his research team’s findings on this matter. It follows Gensini’s research on a method to predict tornadoes weeks in advance which has proved to be quite accurate.
Hail and Tornadoes
Interestingly, there is a high degree of correlation between environments that produce hail and tornadoes. It should be noted, however, that not all storms produce both hazards.
National storm data has been recorded for years. Gensini and his team have studied data from 1979 to 2016, looking at changes in what’s known as the Global Wind Oscillation Index. Basically, this index studies the degree of “waviness” in the jet stream. With eight phases involved in this index, four have been found to be reliable predictors of inland hail activity during storm seasons.
How it Could Become Easier to Predict Hailstorms
The more research that’s done regarding hailstorms, the better local weathermen can be at warning people when hail is coming to their area. This, in turn, means more people will be aware that they should keep their vehicles under awnings, in garages, and/or somewhere sheltered from intense storms predicted well ahead of time. Much like people in certain parts of the country want to know when snow storms, tornadoes, or hurricanes will hit, people in “The West” and “The Plains” definitely want to know if and when hailstorms are on their way. Thankfully, predictions of hailstorms continue to improve.
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