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Hail Size and Hail Damage: Understanding Hail Measurement

In Texas in 2012, 42,000 people filed insurance claims for hail and wind damage—the highest number of claims in the nation. In many of these cases, properties were damaged by hail striking roofs and glass, mercilessly pummeling homes and businesses.

But at what size is hail dangerous and damaging? And how do meteorologists and other experts measure hail and hail damage?

New criterion for severe thunderstorms: quarter-sized hail

Unlike many other weather events, hail is often measured by comparison to everyday circular and spherical objects:

  • 0.25 inches: pea
  • 0.75 inches: penny
  • 1 inch: quarter
  • 1.5 inches: ping pong ball
  • 1.75 inches: golf ball
  • 2.5 inches: tennis ball
  • 2.75 inches: baseball
  • 3 inches: apple
  • 4 inches: softball
  • 4.5 inches: grapefruit
  • 5 inches: DVD or CD

In the past, the National Weather Service stated that severe thunderstorms were defined by gusts of wind over 58 miles per hour and/or hail the size of a penny. However, in recent years, the definition of severe thunderstorms has changed to require quarter-sized hail—hail that is one inch in diameter. The change was made after studies found that hail damage significantly increases when hail is one-inch wide, and after reports that residents were not reacting to severe thunderstorm warnings by taking proper action because so many past storms were not damaging.

How damaging are hailstorms?

Hailstorm damage depends on much more than the size of the hail. For example, the texture of the hail, the fall speed, the density of the hail, the duration of the hail, the number of hail pieces, and the associated wind speed of the storm can all affect how damaging a storm will be. A storm with quarter-sized hail may be far more damaging than a storm with baseball-sized hail under certain conditions: high wind speeds, dense hail, lots of hail, and a long storm.

Hailstorm insurance claims

Has your property been damaged by hail, and are you having difficulty getting the correct amount from your insurance company? Call the Voss Law Firm today to speak with one of our hail damage attorneys: 888-614-7730.

If No Recovery No Fee Guarenteed

The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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