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Like other precipitation, hail forms in storm clouds when supercooled water droplets freeze on contact with condensation nuclei, such as dust or dirt. The storm's updraft blows the hailstones to the upper part of the cloud. The updraft dissipates and the hailstones fall down, back into the updraft, and are lifted up again. Hail has a diameter of 5 millimetres (0. 20 in) or more. [53] Within METAR code, GR is used to indicate larger hail, of a diameter of at least 6. 4 millimetres (0. 25 in) and GS for smaller. [51] Stones just larger than golf ball-sized are one of the most frequently reported hail sizes. [54] Hailstones can grow to 15 centimetres (6 in) and weigh more than 0. 5 kilograms (1. 1 lb). [55] In large hailstones, latent heat released by further freezing may melt the outer shell of the hailstone. The hailstone then may undergo 'wet growth', where the liquid outer shell collects other smaller hailstones. [56] The hailstone gains an ice layer and grows increasingly larger with each ascent. Once a hailstone becomes too heavy to be supported by the storm's updraft, it falls from the cloud. [57]

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