Hail storms happen every year, so we thought we would do a little hail 101 for all of those interested in the whys and hows of hailstorms.
What is hail and where does it come from?
Not every thunderstorm has hail. The conditions have to be right for hail to form. Hail forms when updrafts (the upward movement of air) in thunderstorms carry precipitation, sleet or raindrops upward into very cold areas of the atmosphere where they can freeze into balls of ice. What creates big hailstones is a very strong updraft that can continue to lift the balls of ice allowing the ice balls/hail to continue to grow as they encounter other hail or more extremely cold water droplets. When the storm’s updraft is not strong enough to keep the hail up, either due to the hails weight, or the strength of the updraft weakens, the hail falls.
Hail can be any shape or size – from pea-sized hail – approximately ¼ inch to softball size hail at 4.5 inches. Again, the size of the hail depends on the strength of the storm’s updraft. The bigger the hail, usually, the more irregularly shaped it will be due to the melding of several hailstones. To get baseball size hail, the storm’s updraft has to be moving more than 100 mph!The biggest recorded hail was from Vivian, SD; this hailstone was approximately diameter of 8 inches and a circumference of 18.62 inches. Then there was Denver, Colorado, June 2015 where people were shoveling several inches of hail – crazy!
Thunderstorms that produce hail are proliferous in the spring and summer. This is due to the perfect “storm,” if you will, of warm surface temperatures that are essential in creating strong thunderstorms and cold upper atmosphere temperatures needed to create ice.
Professional roofing companies and insurance companies that help out with hail storm damage call the areas of hail damage hail swaths. This is in part because when viewed from the air, it is readily seen that hail falls in paths. These hail swaths come in all shapes and sizes from a couple of acres to areas that are 9-10 miles wide and more than 100 miles long.
What states are most affected by hail?
While every state has the risk of hail, there are some states that seem to have more hailstorm damage claims; meaning these storms produce big enough hail to warrant homes and businesses getting new siding and roofing. These states are Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, South Carolina and Pennsylvania. The central plains of the United States are most affected by large hail.
How big is it? Hail Sizing
Pea = 1/4 inch diameter
- Marble/mothball = 1/2 inch diameter
- Dime/Penny = 3/4 inch diameter
- Nickel = 7/8 inch
- Quarter = 1 inch — hail quarter size or larger is considered severe
- Ping-Pong Ball = 1 1/2 inch
- Golf Ball = 1 3/4 inches
- Tennis Ball = 2 1/2 inches
- Baseball = 2 3/4 inches
- Teacup = 3 inches
- Grapefruit = 4 inches
- Softball = 4 1/2 inches
If you were in any of the recent hailstorms in the San Antonio, TX area, contact us today at 210.598.7141. We understand the stress of hail damaged homes, and we are here to help. You can also check out this blog where we explain what to do after a hail storm or this blog where we help you pick a roofing contractor. At ARC Restoration and Contracting, we are here to help you no matter the extent of your hail damage.
Before the hailstorm is a great time to think hail protection for your home. Click here for tips to minimize hail damage to your home, and contact ARC today for a free inspection of your home after a severe storm. We are here to help with all of their hail damage restoration needs.