Recent Hail Storms across the United States feels like it has been on the uptick lately with a Texas storm having hail of 5.9 inches outside of Dallas/Fort Worth this year and more recently Central Texas having a “big one”.
Hailstorms are a meteorological phenomenon that can leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Understanding the size, speed, and damage caused by hail is crucial for homeowners, vehicle owners, and anyone living in areas prone to these ice projectiles. In this blog post, we'll delve into the world of hail, exploring its various sizes, the speed at which it falls, and the damage it can inflict.
Hail Size: A Spectrum of Impact
Hailstones come in various sizes, ranging from small pellets to large, destructive chunks of ice. Meteorologists use size categories to classify hail, typically measured in inches or centimeters in diameter. Here are the common hail size classifications:
Pea-sized Hail (Less than 1/4 inch or 0.64 cm): Pea-sized hail is the smallest and least destructive category. While it may not cause significant damage to property or vehicles, it can still be hazardous to people caught outdoors without protection.
Marble-sized Hail (1/4 to 1/2 inch or 0.64 to 1.27 cm): Marble-sized hail is larger and can cause damage to plants, vehicles, and lightweight structures. It may dent car surfaces and damage delicate vegetation.
Quarter-sized Hail (1 inch or 2.54 cm): Quarter-sized hail is significant enough to cause damage to roofs, siding, and windows. It can also injure people and animals caught outdoors.
Golf Ball-sized Hail (1.75 inches or 4.45 cm): Golf ball-sized hail can wreak havoc on vehicles, shatter windows, and cause extensive damage to roofs and structures. It poses a significant threat to outdoor safety.
Tennis Ball-sized Hail (2.5 inches or 6.35 cm): Tennis ball-sized hail is highly destructive, capable of causing severe damage to vehicles, roofing, siding, and vegetation. It poses a considerable risk to people and animals.
Baseball-sized Hail (2.75 inches or 6.99 cm): Baseball-sized hail is exceptionally dangerous, with the potential to total vehicles, demolish roofs, and cause significant property damage. It can pose life-threatening risks to anyone outdoors.
Softball-sized Hail (4 inches or 10.16 cm and larger): Softball-sized hail is rare but extremely destructive. It can demolish structures, destroy vehicles, and pose a severe threat to life and property.
The largest recorded hail stone was 8 inches in diameter weighing 1.94 pounds in South Dakota on July 23, 2010.
Hail Speed: The Downward Descent
Hailstones fall to the ground at varying speeds, influenced by several factors, including the size and density of the hailstone, as well as the strength of the storm updrafts. On average, hailstones can fall at speeds over 100 mph (160.9 km/h) depending on the size.
To put it in perspective the average fastball in Major League Baseball was 93.6 mph in 2022.
The impact of a hailstone depends on its size and the speed at which it falls. The size-speed combination can make even small hailstones damaging when they fall at high speeds. Larger hailstones falling more slowly can also cause substantial damage due to their mass and density.
Possible Damage: Unpredictable at the time
The damage caused by hail can be extensive and costly. Here's how the size of hail relates to the damage it can inflict:
Vehicle Damage: Hail can leave dents and dings on a vehicle's exterior, crack windshields, and damage headlights. The size of hailstones directly correlates with the severity of vehicle damage. Larger hailstones can even total cars.
Roof Damage: Hail can cause roof shingle damage, including cracks and missing pieces. The size of hailstones, combined with their speed, determines the extent of roof damage. Large, fast-falling hail can puncture roofs and cause leaks.
Property Damage: Hail can damage windows, siding, gutters, and outdoor equipment. Large hailstones can shatter windows, while smaller ones can chip or crack glass surfaces. Siding and gutters may show signs of dents or impact marks.
Crop and Vegetation Damage: Hail can devastate crops, gardens, and orchards. The size of hailstones influences the severity of damage, with larger hailstones capable of shredding plants and destroying harvests.
Injury Risk: Hail poses a significant risk of injury to people and animals caught outdoors during a hailstorm. Larger hailstones can cause severe injuries, while smaller ones can still hurt and cause discomfort.
Hailstorms are a powerful force of nature that can cause varying degrees of damage, depending on the size and speed of the hailstones. Understanding the relationship between hail size, speed, and damage is essential for preparedness and risk mitigation. When severe weather strikes, it's crucial to seek shelter and protect yourself and your property from the potential harm caused by hail. Additionally, consider investing in appropriate insurance coverage, such as comprehensive auto and homeowners insurance, to help mitigate the financial impact of hail-related damage.
At the Voss Law Firm we strive to help you get back to normal as fast as possible after an insurance denial or “low ball” offer. If you feel you have been unfairly treated by your insurance company, please call (888) 296-1986, input your information for a Free Claim Review or chat with us today.