Most hailstorms never product the type of hail that can damage roofs, break windows, destroy cars, and even hurt people. However, every once in a while a damaging hailstorm rolls through an area, and the damage to both people and property skyrocket. While hailstorms typically last less than 30 minutes in most areas, if the hail forms properly, that’s enough time to cause damage in the multi-million to billion-dollar range. Let’s look at why hail becomes so damaging.
So, Why Does Hail Become So Damaging?
Hail is formed in the updraft of thunderstorms. This updraft carries rain into the coldest areas of the storm, freezing it into balls of ice. This can occur several times before the hail becomes heavy enough to fall through the entirety of the storm and make contact with the earth below. The more times that small ball of ice gets pulled through the updraft, the harder and stronger it becomes, causing damage when it gets dense enough and makes contact with a roof, car, or item.
Combine a hard, dense, ball of hail and the rate at which it falls to the ground and you have a speeding object that can cause massive damage under the right circumstances. This is how roofs in particular get damaged. While hail does need to be larger to cause significant damage, depending on where the hail hits, it can make holes through roofs or break windows.
Hail can come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s typically smaller than a nickel and circular-shaped. Hail has been known to grow in size, up to a grapefruit, and cause significant damage to not only property but people caught in the downpour. Concussions have been known to happen from baseball size hail and larger, which means that if it’s hailing in your neck of the woods, you should seek cover. Even when it’s hailing small pieces, enough of these hits can cause damage and harm.
Hail is an odd weather phenomenon and it’s hard to predict just when and where it’ll show up.