Hail Storms in America

Hail storms can pop up suddently in Spring and early Fall.In many parts of America, we are well accustomed to hail storms. They are the storms that arrive most in between the months of May and September, in the Great Plains and the Midwest. Normally leaving damage in their wake, hail storms are not Americans’ favorite thing that comes along with spring and summer.

During a thunder storms, winds go both upwards and downwards, creating updrafts and downdrafts. Water vapor and rain are trapped in the updraft, and shot up high into cumulonimbus clouds together. After reaching high enough, the water freezes on to dust and dirt, creating condensation nuclei. Other water molecules also join this condensation nucleus, creating a core of the hail stone. This hail core is bounced up and down by updrafts and downdrafts, accumulating more water and ice particles, and it grows in size, until it becomes too heavy and falls to the earth.

Despite the number of thunder storms that occur in the tropics, it is unusual for those areas to experience a hail storm. In areas with mountain ranges, there tends to be more hail storms, as the mountains force the wind to move upwards and it mixes with the updrafts, making hail come down to earth more easily. Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming deal with the most hail in the United States, due to the Rocky Mountains.

Hail storms are, at best, inconvenient, and at worst, dangerous. Most people do not find themselves without shelter during hail storms, and we all know that it is safer to avoid heavy, spiky balls of ice raining down from the sky. Only three people have been recorded to have died from a hail storm in the United States. The main danger from hail storms is property and crop damage. Hail storms are notoriously known for denting cars, ruining roofs and fences, and even breaking windows occasionally.

However, you will probably experience hail that is pea-sized to marble-sized, neither of which are likely to break your windows or physically harm you. Hail can be about tennis ball to softball sized (2 ½ to 4 ½ inches in diameter), occasionally, and in those cases you probably should stay away from windows. Your roof will be damaged in many cases of hail.

Hail damage can impact your roof for more than just cosmetic reasons. During hail storms, the winds can pick up to intense speeds, peeling shingles off of your roof and flinging debris onto it. If the damage is intense enough, this can lead to leaks in your roof. After hail storms, even seemingly small ones, check the flashing around your vents, chimneys, skylights, etc. When the edges are damaged here, they will likely allow water to seep through and damage your home.

In the event of a hail storm, there is normally not much more to fear than some costly replacements and repairs. Even still, you should always take caution, and take shelter immediately when hail starts to pour. Make sure all your pets are inside, stay away from windows, and don’t go outside. High winds often bring dangerous, flying debris, just aside from the hailstones falling from the sky. Always stay safe-it is better to be safe than sorry.

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