Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ever Wonder Exactly How Hail is Made?

Roofers always say that if you really want a good dependable weatherman, don't turn on the tv, call a roofer! Most roofers I know, have become extremely proficient at reading radars, weather patterns, cloud formation and pretty much in general, can read the future when it comes to the weather!  I must admit, that I find myself becoming increasingly fascinated with the weather. In particular, I have developed a fascination with hailstones.

Hail is a creation of art by mother nature. While it can wreak havoc on cars, houses and crops and cost us billions of dollars per year, it is truly amazing. Much like snowflakes, no two hailstones are the same. They come in different shapes and sizes and densities. Some are round and smooth, while others can be flat, saucer-like with jagged edges. Some hail is extremely dense and hard, and some are soft and break apart easily. Hail is formed in cumulonimbus clouds. Raindrops are sucked into the updraft of the stormcloud and become frozen, where they continue to recirculate and grow until they become too large for the cloud to hold and then they are released.  If you look closely at a hailstone, you can usually see the rings, which indicate how many times the stone cycled before falling to the ground.

So, the next time some hail falls around your place, grab a few stones and take a look. See how many rings you can count! Send us your fascinating hail pictures and we will post them on our blog and Facebook page.

Other hail facts you may find interesting:

  • Approximately $1 billion U.S Dollar losses because of hailstorms in forms of crops and property each year in U.S.
  • The costliest hailstorm in the United States was in Fort Worth in May 1995. Total damages were $2 billion, with an estimated $1.1 billion of that attributed to hail damage.
  • The largest hailstone recorded fell in Coffeyville, Kan., on Sept. 3, 1970. It measured about 17.5 inches in circumference (over 5.6 inches in diameter) and weighed more than 26 ounces (almost 2 pounds).
  • Cut in half, a hailstone has concentric rings like an onion, which reveal the number of times it traveled to the top of the storm before falling to Earth.
  • The largest form of frozen precipitation happens during the warmest time of the year.
  • Hailstorms rarely last longer than 15 minutes.
  • Hails rarely occurs in tropics except in high elevation area.
1999 Encyclopedia Britannica


- Jennifer Crutcher

Jennifer is a licensed insurance adjuster in the state of Texas, a Haag Engineering Certified Residential Roof Inspector and is passionate about consumer protection and education. She works at Outback Roofing, a family owned and locally operated company, where she is responsible for daily office operations. Jennifer resides with her family and two German shepherds in the Dallas area. A little known fact is that she secretly aspires to be an ice dancer!

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