You might look at these pictures and think, oh hail no! This could be because of the damage done to property from the hail, or maybe it is because of the horrible pun I just made. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. On a more serious note, did you know that hail can originate from any thunderstorm? Large hail is most common in rotating thunderstorms called supercells. Nearly all supercells produce hail, while less than 30% of supercells produce tornadoes. Back in 2012, the second most costly natural catastrophes for U.S. insurers were thunderstorms that occurred between March and July. Hurricane Sandy caused the most insured losses with approximately $25 billion in claims expected, and thunderstorms were right behind at $23.5 billion. Losses from thunderstorms include claims for hail and wind damage. If you have ever been a victim of hail and its fury, the following pictures may be a little painful.
1. Have you ever heard of a car dealership having a hail sale? They do exist. Apparently you can get a great deal if you don’t mind a lot of dents in your “new” car.
2. Do you know if your car is covered by insurance in the event of a hail storm? Apparently if you only have liability insurance, then hail damage won’t be covered. Ouch!
3. However, if you have comprehensive insurance, then it should be covered.
4. What about houses? Do you think they are covered in the event of hail from Hell?
5. Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover storms including hail, tornado, and wind damage.
6. Knowing insurance companies I am sure there is a lot of fine print and paperwork involved.
7. Peak months for high hail activity are historically March, April, May, and June, according to NOAA’s Severe Storm database.
8. The states that typically have the highest hail risk include Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming, according to NOAA’s Severe Storm database.
9. This house sure took a beating! Hail was the number one cause of homeowner’s insurance losses in Texas during the period from 1999-2011. The price tag was $10.4 billion dollars, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. Water related losses were second at $8.9B, followed by hurricane related losses at $6.7B, and fire related losses at $5.9B.
10. Hail causes about $1 billion dollars in damage to property and crops each year, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
11. The largest hailstone in terms of diameter and weight ever recorded in the U.S. fell on July 23, 2010, in Vivian, South Dakota. It measured 8 inches in diameter and 18.62 inches in circumference, weighing in at 1.93 pounds. This broke the previous record for diameter set by a hailstone 7 inches diameter and 18.75 inches circumference (still the greatest circumference hailstone), which fell in Aurora, Nebraska in the U.S. on June 22, 2003, as well as the record for weight, set by a hailstone of 1.67 pounds that fell in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1970.
12. Countless vehicles are damaged by hail every year. An estimated 24 people are injured each year by hail in the U.S. The last fatality in the U.S. attributed to hail was in Lake Worth Village, Texas on March 28, 2000. A 19-year old man was struck by softball sized hail while trying to move a new car. He died the following day from associated head injuries.
13. Hail one-inch (quarter size) or larger is considered “severe” by the National Weather Service. I’m thinking the hail that went through these car windows was much bigger than that.
14. The National Weather Service (NWS) Dual- Polarization Doppler Radar can estimate the size of hail by the characteristics of the energy scattered back to the radar from within a thunderstorm. Although not 100% accurate, new radar algorithms are currently being developed and improved upon to increase the hail detection accuracy.
15. It’s thought the clear layers form when the hailstone is in a part of the cloud where the air temperature is just below freezing, so the water slowly freezes over the hailstone and air bubbles can escape.
16. The Perfect Stay Inn was not so perfect after the hail storm had its say.
17. The windows didn’t have a chance when a hail storm rolled through this town.
18. During the winter months in the UK the hail they get is called graupel. This soft hail is different from hailstones as it tends to form when super cooled water droplets add a layer of ice to falling snowflakes.
19. Hailstorms rarely last more than 15 minutes. That is more than enough time to do a lot of damage.
20. One of the earliest recorded hailstorms in history occurred in the 9th century.
21. For reference, news and weather stations use everyday materials to describe hailstones so people can relate. These Jeeps look like some baseballs were dropped on them, maybe grapefruits.
22. Hailstones fall so fast they usually don’t melt before they hit the ground, even in the warm summer months.
23. It is estimated that hail causes about $1 billion in property and crop damages a year. Farmers crops pay the price and that is passed on to consumers.
So did you hear the one about the tornado? There is a twist at the end…..get it? Ahh okay, I am done. Hail will fall and then rise again in the clouds, each time adding a new coating of ice. Here is a fun experiment you can do the next time it hails in your area. Cut a hailstone in half. When you do, look at the rings of ice? Some rings are milky white while others are clear. Counting the layers gives an indication of how many times the hailstone traveled to the top of the storm cloud.