What is a Hailstorm?
Hailstorms are formed when raindrops are carried upward by thunderstorm updrafts into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere and freezes. The hailstones grow by colliding with liquid water drops that freeze on the hailstone’s surface. The hailstones fall when the thunderstorm’s updraft can no longer support the weight of the stone. Wind driven hail can tear up siding on houses, break windows on cars and cause severe injury to people and animals. The speed of hail falling depends on the size of the hailstone the local wind conditions. Hailstones that you typically see in a severe thunderstorm are 1 inch to 1.75 inch in diameter and fall speed is between 25 and 40 mph. Hail is considered a type of precipitation but falls as a solid.
Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming have the most hailstorms. The largest hailstone recovered in the United States fell in Vivian, South Dakota on June 23, 2010. The stone was 8 inches in diameter and a circumference of 18.62 inches. It weighed 1lb and 15 oz. Most hailstorms are made up of different sizes and only the larger ones pose a risk to people. You have heard people say hail is a sign of a tornado. Hail, or any pattern of rain, calmness, or lightning is not a way to rely on predicting a tornado threat. Severe thunderstorms can produce destructive hail without a tornado. Hail caused $1 billion in damage to property and crops each year.
If you are caught outside during a hailstorm, seek shelter immediately in a sturdy building. Stay away from windows, skylights, and do not go outside until the hail has stopped. If you caught in a vehicle turn away from the windows and protect your eyes. The vehicle should provide sufficient protection from the storm. As with any storm take precautions and stay weather alert. Hail has formed due to instability in the atmosphere and severe weather can be present or forming.
When preparing your emergency contact list add your local SERVPRO of the Quad Cities. You can depend on an immediate response from our highly trained technicians, who are available 24 hours, seven days a week.