The history of hail
The history of hail is as old as the history of
Man. In the book of Exodus (circa 1250 BC) we find one of the first
references to this meteorological phenomenon – described as
the 7th Plague of Egypt.
Hail was closely studied by the great thinkers of ancient times and
by scientists, including Alessandro Volta, inventor of the battery,
but in those days farmers were powerless in the face of this calamity.
In the country, when a storm was imminent, they rang the storm bells,
burnt blessed olive branches in the farmyard and prayed for Divine
intervention to save their crops.
Studies and research into preventing these unpredictable
hailstorm phenomena have been relentless – from hail-dispensing
cannons (designed to fire into the storm clouds) in the early 19th
century, to the most modern rocket launchers
with rockets exploding in the hail at low altitude, to silver iodide,
aimed at reducing the size of the hailstones, and therefore
the damage to crops.