Massive Storm System Sweeps Nation

April 2013 Storm
Spring naturally brings severe thunderstorms to various parts of the country. Residents in the South are particularly familiar with the random changes in weather. On rare occasion, there is a storm system that sweeps through and takes everyone by surprise. This past week, 25% of the nation was slammed with a severe system, causing immense damage throughout the states.

The storm began in the central part of the country. Parts of Missouri were pummeled with heavy rain and high winds, while the St. Louis area experienced an EF-2 tornado (winds between 113-157 mph). Parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas were hit with heavy rain, strong winds, and hail. The system continued moving east, tearing apart roofs and damaging thousands of homes. Mississippi experienced a tornado, leading to injuries and leaving hundreds of homes without power. Golf-ball and baseball-size hail pelted Georgia and the Carolinas.

Northeastern states were also afflicted with damages due to hail. Indianapolis, Indiana and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have reported huge damages due to the storm. Northern areas of New York experienced ice and intense rain. The system eventually dissipated by the end of the week, leaving thousands devastated.

Protecting Your Home From Hail

Tips For Preventing Hail Damage to Homes
Hail can range from pea-size to the size of a volleyball. The ice chunks generally don’t fall for a long period of time (usually around 30 minutes), but the constant bombardment in that short period of time can rack up hundreds, maybe even thousands in damages. Your home is susceptible to roof and window damages, among other potential issues. In order to ensure the protection of your house, make sure you read these tips below:

  • Check the sheathing in your attic – it’s the wood that holds the roof up. Make sure that it is properly secured (nails are not missing) and that it is not suffering from water damage.
  • Reinforce the walls of the attic/roof. If the structure seems weak, brace the walls with two 2 X 4″ wood planks in an “X” formation.
  • Replace shingles immediately if they are old or damaged. Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice because they are impact-resistant.
  • Install wind shutters on the outside of your windows. The shutters will prevent the glass from shattering due to high velocity winds or hail.
  • Secure door hinges with heavy-duty bolts. This will keep the doors from being ripped out of the frame.

By following these simple tips, you can prevent, or at the very least reduce damages from intense storms and hail. Stay protected, but most importantly stay safe!

Hail Tracking, Perfected

HailStrike AniSwaths
Storm trackers have relied on Doppler radars and ground reports for years in order to track systems, assess damages, and predict weather patterns. It is a very hit-and-miss process, and even more so when it comes to hail. Hail is a very unpredictable phenomenon; very specific weather conditions are required for its formation. Tracking hail is tricky and it can lead to some frustration. That’s why we at HailStrike are proud to introduce the AniSwath:

The AniSwath is a revolutionary program that allows users to easily track hail storms. By using the radar stations that are scattered around the nation and condensing the information, we are able to display precisely where hail has fallen. AniSwaths will show the storm path(s), how many hits were recorded, how intense the storm was, where the hail landed, and how long the storm lasted. This program is second-to-none when it comes to tracking hail. For more information, go to the main HailStrike site. Roofers should take notice!

Understanding Hail Formation

How Hail is Formed
Hail is a potentially devastating force of nature. It can tear cars apart and rip through houses. The balls of ice can rain down destruction and fill lives with woe. The mysterious ice particles seem to randomly pop up throughout the country, making it difficult to predict when and where it will fall. Though it may seem enigmatic, hail can only form and fall under certain, very specific conditions.

First off, let’s start with the basic definition: Hail forms when tiny clumps of ice are pushed upwards from strong updrafts through freezing clouds until they are heavy enough to fall to earth.

The more advanced process: Water droplets supercool in the atmosphere. The ice may either to accumulate and grow larger, or it may melt and turn into rain. If a storm is cold and windy enough, the ice may continuously be pushed up, collecting more layers of freezing rain. As long as the updrafts are constant, a hailstone will continue to grow, forming more and more layers. Whenever the hailstone becomes to heavy, it will fall to the ground, potentially gaining more layers and it descends through the clouds. Larger hailstones are more likely to form in towering cumulonimbus clouds.

Alert System Tip

HailStrike Alert Tips
Part of our service package is an alert system that lets you know when hail activity is reported. One of our clever clients shared a great tip for all of you who are currently accessing HailStrike. You can set 10 alerts, and he chose to set up an alert in the county next to him. This way he is able to track the storm before it hits his county, giving him an even greater advantage in the market. We at HailStrike enjoy serving you and love hearing from you. Please leave any feedback or tips that you would like to share in our comment section below.

Hail Size Chart

Chart of Hail Size
We have compiled a helpful visual chart that explains the size range of hail and the damaged produced by its various sizes. As you can see below, hail damage can range anywhere from decimating landscaping to destroying entire homes. There have even been fatalities due to hail. Careful out there folks.

INTENSITY

GENERAL DAMAGE DESCRIPTION

RANGE

SIZE

H-0

None.

0.2”-0.4”

H-1

Makes holes in leaves and flower plants.

0.2”-0.8”

H-2

Strips leaves from plants and damages vegetables.

0.2”-1.2”

H-3

Breaks glass panes, scrapes paint, marks woodwork, dents trailers, tears tents.

0.4”-1.8”

H-4

Breaks windows, cracks window screens, scrapes off paint, kills chickens and small birds.

0.6”-2.4”

H-5

Breaks some roof tiles and slates, dents cars, strips bark off trees, cuts branches from trees, kills small animals.

0.8”-3.0”

H-6

Shingled roofs are breached, breaks away window frames, metal is scored.

1.2”-3.9”

H-7

Roofs are shattered to expose rafters, breaks window frames, seriously damages cars.

1.8”-4.9”

H-8

Shingle and tiled roofs are destroyed, cracks concrete roofs, small tree trunks split and knocked down, marks pavement, people at risk of serious bodily injuries.

2.4”-5.0”

H-9

Concrete roofs are broken, marks concrete walls, makes holes in walls of wooden houses, large tree trunks are split and knocked down, people at risk of fatal injury.

3.2”-5.0”+

H-10

Brick houses are damaged, destroys wooden houses, people at risk of fatal injuries.

4.0”-7.0”+

The chart above was compiled from various sources. Feel free to check them out here and here.