It is widely known that Ice may fall from the sky. Ice falling from clouds receives the name of hail. Depending on intensity and size, hail may represent a serious threat for unsheltered people and property itself.
The size of hail particles usually ranges from 0.20 inches to 6 inches, and their weight can reach up to 1.1lb. Unlike snow, which occurs almost always in winter or favorable icy regions, hail occurs, usually during intense storms in which water droplets are brought to temperatures below their normal freezing point.
Hail is be produced mainly during summer and winter, seasons where the updrafts can no longer support the weight of hail. Hail rushes at speeds proportional to its size, creating a violent storm of ice coming down to earth. Hail is very variable when it comes to shape, ranging from regular spherical figures or conical shapes to extremely irregular figures. They usually consist of a frozen core wrapped by several layers of uniform ice.
Damage caused by hail
Hail causes considerable material losses, both in the countryside and in the city. In the country side, hail may ruin crops and its damage can range from slight breaks of leaves or small hits on the fruits to total crop destruction, causing partial or absolute loss of harvest for the farmer. If not aware of a hailstorm incoming, hail could cause physical damage to livestock and may even cause loss of animal life.
As for the city, the damage caused by hail is clearly evident especially, when it comes to vehicles, causing damage to roofs, bodywork and glass. Windshields are often hail targets and can crack or break completely. Buildings and houses are also at risk of hail damage, mostly on ceilings and glass structures such as windows and storefronts. Hail can also generate electrical cuts and fires as a result of direct hits to electric components and water coming from the unfreezing process. However, despite material damage, hail represents a major hazard to society due to its ability to cause severe injuries and death on human population.
Detection of a possible hailstorm
- Meteorological services: the most common way to detect a possible hailstorm is to contact your local office of meteorological services. These services are based on the information of Doppler meteorological radars, which happen to be very reliable for detection of the location, duration and set moment in which the phenomenon may occur. The easy access to websites that offer weather alert services makes this option reliable and easily accessible.
- Instinctive identification; although it has a high probability of error due to the human factor, if the situation in which there is no access to a meteorological service occurs, some characteristics of the environment can be used to evaluate the risk of a hail. A hailstorm might occur if you if success to identify:
- The shape of the clouds (shape of an anvil)
- The thickness of the clouds (at least 3 miles)
- The electrical activity (presence of many rays)
- The level of precipitation (generally heavy rainfall)
- The color of the sky: the clouds in front of a hailstorm have a slightly “green” tone.
If you manage to detect a hailstorm in time, the next thing to do is to take the appropriate measures to safeguard your physical integrity and your assets.
Precautions before a hailstorm
To reduce the damage and risks that a hailstorm may cause, it is necessary to:
- Gather your family members and create a plan to follow in case of a natural disaster, keep in mind that electrical power cuts may occur, you will want to include in the plan a disaster survival kit, flashlights and an emergency evacuation plan.
- Verify that the roof of the house has adequate reinforcements and that it is firmly covered with resistant material to the high impact of hail. If you are not sure, ask American Loss Company to evaluate the conditions of your roof for you.
- Install storm shutters on all windows and glass surfaces exposed to the outside, including sliding glass doors and skylights.
- Stay tuned for the news to find out about weather conditions. If a hailstorm is coming, park your vehicle in the garage and remain inside your home until the danger has passed.
Protection during a hailstorm
The main recommendation during a hailstorm is to stay calm.
- Follow the emergency plan: a hailstorm can disrupt electrical service and, in general, it is accompanied by other severe weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, stay calm and follow the plan.
- Go to a closed space and stay inside: hail varies greatly in size, but even the smallest pieces, carried by gravity and strong winds, represents a danger to anyone or anything caught in a storm. If you are at home while a storm is approaching, put the vehicles in the garage and put the pets inside the house. Once inside, close all curtains and shutters to prevent hail or broken glass from entering through the windows. If possible, go to a basement, warehouse or any other level of the building that is not directly below the ceiling. Stay in a closed space until the storm has passed.
- Stay informed: listen to the news to stay updated on hail storm activity, since hailstorms often occur during severe weather patterns, such as severe thunderstorms, it is advisable to have a battery-powered radio and some replacement batteries.
- If you are outdoors, go immediately to a closed space following the advice above.
If you are on the road during a hailstorm, keep these recommendations in mind:
- If you are driving; slow down, turn on the flashing lights, keep a prudent distance and drive with caution.
- If the storm deepens or lengthens, do not despair, reduce the speed gradually until you can park in a safe place, you should not stop the vehicle abruptly, you might cause a car crash.
- Do not try to take shelter under the trees, branches may fall on you and your car causing serious damage to the structure of the vehicle and trap you inside.
- Motorcycle drivers; extreme precautions and use the protective helmet at all times, preferably seek a place to protect themselves.
What to do after a hailstorm?
Make sure that the danger has really passed and that there is no risk for you before leaving your safe place, then:
- Keep informed through mass media about the situation prevailing in your community and region, it is important that you follow the recommendations issued by the competent authorities.
- Examine your property, including walls, doors, windows, tiles and trees to identify the magnitude of the damage.
- Remove excess hail accumulated on the roofs to prevent them from collapsing, as well as clogged sewers and drains.
- Check if your vehicle has been damaged by hail.
- Report damage to your home and car as soon as possible to your insurance company.
A hailstorm may occur any time, prepare yourself to face it. Call American Loss Consultant to have your back covered by a top leading professional company. American Loss Consultant will always be there to guide you and assist you during hard times. Call American Loss Consultant today.