10 Interesting Hail Facts

A severe storm is bringing a variety of hazardous throughout the central and eastern U.S. on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Hail is possible throughout the regions, while hail has already been reported in many areas in the Midwest.

Redcue your risk of costly property damage by using hail resources provided by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). In addition, learn how IBHS made history by conducting the first-ever indoor hailstorm, while footage from the hailstorm demonstration is below.

Do you think you know hail? Check out these ten interesting hail facts:

10 Interesting Hail Facts

  1. Hail causes about $1 billion dollars in damage to property and crops each year, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

  2. In 2012, the second most costly natural catastrophes for U.S. insurers were thunderstorms that occurred between March and July. Sandy caused the most insured losses with approximately $25 billion in claims expected, and thunderstorms were right behind at $23.5 billion. Losses from thunderstorms include claims for hail and wind damage. Source: Munich Re NatCatSERVICE 

  3. The states that typically have the highest hail risk include Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming, according to NOAA’s Severe Storm database.
    Basic RGB

    States that typically have the highest hail risk, according to NOAA’s Severe Storm database.

  4. Peak months for high hail activity are historically March, April, May, and June, according to NOAA’s Severe Storm database.

  5. Hail was the number one cause of homeowners insurance losses in Texas during the period from 1999-2011, at $10.4 billion, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. Water-related losses were second at $8.9B, followed by hurricane-related losses at $6.7B, and fire-related losses at $5.9B. 

  6. The largest hailstone in terms of diameter and weight ever recorded in the U.S. fell on July 23, 2010, in Vivian, South Dakota. It measured 8 inches in diameter and 18.62 inches in circumference, weighing in at 1.93 pounds. This broke the previous record for diameter set by a hailstone 7 inches diameter and 18.75 inches circumference (still the greatest circumference hailstone), which fell in Aurora, Nebraska in the U.S. on June 22, 2003, as well as the record for weight, set by a hailstone of 1.67 pounds that fell in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1970.


    The largest hailstone in terms of diameter and weight ever recorded in the U.S. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

  7. Hailstorms do not usually cause fatalities, but approximately 24 people are injured each year by hail in the U.S. The last fatality in the U.S. attributed to hail was in Lake Worth Village, Texas on March 28, 2000. A 19-year old man was struck by softball sized hail while trying to move a new car. He died the following day from associated head injuries. 

  8. Hail can originate from any thunderstorm, but large hail is most common in rotating thunderstorms called supercells. Nearly all supercells produce hail, while less than 30% of supercells produce tornadoes. 

  9. National Weather Service (NWS) Dual- Polarization Doppler Radar can estimate the size of hail by the characteristics of the energy scattered back to the radar from within a thunderstorm. Although not 100% accurate, new radar algorithms are currently being developed and improved upon to increase the hail detection accuracy. 

  10. Hail one-inch (quarter size) or larger is considered “severe” by NWS. 


IBHS Hailstorm from Concept to Reality

[vimeo 60100334 w=600]

Hailstorm Demonstration Highlights

[vimeo 60091069 w=600]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>