Sometimes When Water Falls :: CR99 220411

Inspired by Charli Mill’s Carrot Ranch, #99WordStories
In 99 words (no more, no less),
write a story using the phrase, water falls.

Strong Extratropical Cyclone Over the US Midwest
Strong Extratropical Cyclone by NASA Goddard Photo licensed under CC-BY 2.0

What a mess! I thought.

Darn hail –but what’s this?

I bent to look closer and yes; the blasted stone — was steaming.

How’s that possible?

I recalled how: in the turbulence at the leading edge of storms,

water churns up and down,

freezing each round,

layering more water on each lap until the weight is sufficient and the frozen water falls.

But steam? 


Ah; I recalled; some science class mentioned this.

If conditions are right,

warmer days, bright sunlight,

hail doesn’t melt into water but jumps, sublimating straight to steam.

Very cool, but my windshield is still destroyed.

 – – = = * = = – –

Okay – I know this is a nerd article, but I still recall the first time I saw this phenomenon. I had just moved my family to Colorado Springs, Colorado to start a new job and our youngest son had just been born, so yes, life was wonderfully hectic and there on the street after one of the many hail storms that frequent the city were piles of hail stones – steaming in the sunlight. I don’t recall how I solved the mystery of my first encounter with sublimation, but when I did I vowed to someday use it in a story.

The more detailed explanation is that if we heat ice, it melts into liquid water. If we add more heat (more energy) the water evaporates into steam, but if you add lots of energy to ice quickly enough while suitable air pressure exists, you can watch as ice jumps straight to steam.

And yes, I do think this is pretty cool and I feel much better with this checked off of my to-do-someday list.

GW bio card 4

10 thoughts on “Sometimes When Water Falls :: CR99 220411

    1. As a child – I mostly wanted to know why rain can fall all day long but hail only falls for very short times, usually well under 60 seconds. I’m pretty sure that churning at the leading edge of the storm creates the unusual circumstances that create hail.
      When did we lose the ability to see things through the eyes of a child.
      I’m also glad that we normally get it back for a while when our own children arrive.


    1. Hi Kirstin – I suspect that only a true science nerd would notice. A normal person would go straight to worrying about that windshield. . .
      Thanks for joining me on this ride and take a good look at your pile of hail next time you have the chance. You might get lucky. If you’re close to sea level, maybe not but if you’re high enough (lower air pressure) you might see the phenomena and check it off your want-to-see list.


    1. Hi Gloria.
      I honor anyone with such curiosity. Thus is how important discoveries are made.. just another cool mechanism of nature thar many people walk by without noticing.
      Thanks for reading my story and commenting back. You’re welcome at my story blog any time.
      BTW – do you live in a higher altitude than most? High altitudes are more conducive to such sublimation. It’s how I noticed it.


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