Things You Might Not Know About Hail

Hail may be a worldwide occurrence, but did you know the following things about hail?

Hail can be fatal!

There are recorded fatalities caused directly by hail that go back for centuries. Experts from National Geographic examined around 200 skeletons found at the bottom of a lake in India dating back to the year 850. The team found that the cause of death seemed to be damage caused by brutal blows to the skulls, and the weapon would have been dull, round objects, near the size of baseballs. After further examination, the team determined a freak hail storm brought the tribesmen to their catastrophic death.
For more reading on this, check out this article.
The United States is not the only country being hit with deadly hail.
In 1936 more than 200 people were killed in China during a fierce hail storm.
In 1986, a storm producing hail stones of up to 2lbs led to the deaths of 92 people in Bangladesh.
On average, twenty four people in the United States are injured each year from hail. Hail can also kill, even if it is a rare occurrence.
The most recent hail-associated fatality was in Fort Worth, TX, in March of 2000. A pizza deliveryman was hit and killed by a large hailstone that dropped during a hail storm on that day. Death caused by hail storms are so uncommon that there have only been a couple of other reports in the United States in the past 100 years.

Storms that produce hail are more threatening than tornadoes!

During the spring, the typical weather concern is the possibility of tornadoes.
While this is a valid concern, the average number of tornado reports in the U.S. is around a thousand, compared to the 5,000+ reports of large hail that occurs each year.

Hailstones have rings, much like a tree!

While hail forms and grows, before falling to the ground, layers of water are added and frozen to the initial ball of ice.
This process forms rings, which indicate how long that specific hailstone was suspended in the storm.
Tree rings
Indicating age of the tree
Hailstone rings
Indicating time suspended in storm

Auto Hail Damage is a BIG THREAT!

From shattered windows, to large hail dents in the body, auto hail damage is the biggest issue, especially to those who find themselves stuck in a hailstorm. With balls of ice plummeting to the Earth at speeds of 80+mph, plus the speed at which the vehicle is moving; the impact of a hailstone to a moving vehicle increases tremendously.
*Note: If your local weather forecast says there is a chance of hail, avoid travel if possible. If you’re already driving and get caught in a hailstorm, do not park under a bridge or overpass (this is a safety hazard and can cause a severe accident). Instead, find the nearest exit and park at a safe facility. After the storm passes, if you have received damage on your vehicle, contact your insurance company and take your vehicle to a body shop that provides quality auto hail damage repair services for further assistance.
Denton, TX
suffered severe hail damage
Brutal hail damage
from a severe Colorado hailstorm

The LARGEST Recorded Hailstone in the US

On July 23, 2010, a hailstone was found near Vivian, South Dakota that measured 8 inches in diameter, 18.5 inches in circumference, and weighed in at 1.94 pounds. The man that found the stone was originally going to use it to make daiquiris, but decided to turn it over to the National Weather Service for certification instead.
Massive hail stone
discovered near Vivian, SD
Massive hail stone
discovered near Vivian, SD

Old School Hail Prevention Methods

Around 476 AD, people tried to prevent hail by shooting cannons and ringing church bells.
They were unsuccessful in their attempts.

The Cost of Hail Damage

Hail typically causes billions of dollars in damages each year.
Thunderstorms between March and July were determined by Insurers to be the second most costly of natural catastrophes.
2012: Hurricane Sandy caused approximately $25B* in damages, and losses from thunderstorms (including hail/wind damages) caused roughly $23.5B* in damages.
2017: Texas received over $2.1B* in hail damage claims, while Colorado and its surrounding states received $2.2B* in hail damage claims.
The upper Midwest is the current front runner of hail damage claims this year, with a whopping $2.5B* and counting.

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