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How big can a raindrop get?

Drops vary in size from the tiny cloud droplets (measuring less than 0.1 mm in diameter) to the large drops associated with heavy rainfall, and reaching up to 6 mm in diameter. Collision among drops and surface instabilities are generally thought to impose this 6-mm size limit, although drops as large as 8 mm in diameter have been reported in shallow warm showers in Hawaii.

The reflectivity of a drop when illuminated by radar is roughly proportional to the square of its volume. It is this property which radar meteorologists exploit to estimate the total volume of rain from the reflectivity observed. This estimation process is rather difficult because the radar-rain relation is not linear, and the range of drop sizes within a single storm can vary greatly.