Post-cat hail investigation underway in Dallas

A team of Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) residential and commercial engineers has deployed to the Dallas-Fort Worth area as part of a post-cat hailstorm investigation project conducted under the auspices of the Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues (RICOWI).

Participating from IBHS are Dr. Tanya Brown, research scientist, Remington “Rem” Brown, senior engineering manager, Wanda Edwards, director of code development, and Chuck Miccolis, commercial lines engineer. The IBHS team underwent training Monday and discussed logistics regarding the project. The primary objective of the project is to investigate the performance of impact-rated roofing products, so the team will be given information about the location of some impact-rated roofs, and will attempt to survey those roofs along with others nearby and then compare the relative performance of each. Specific data about damaged roofs the team will be collecting includes: address, GPS, roof cover, roof slope, roof age, and number of impacts in a test square, among other data points.

Dr. Tanya Brown is a meteorologist, in addition to being a wind engineer, so she briefed the team about the meteorology of the May storm they are studying. She also briefed the team about the radar-based analysis that an IBHS consultant conducted about this hailstorm, which delineates various sizes of hailstones across the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, based on radar detection algorithms. Dr. Brown is particularly interested to see how the radar data compare with the ground-level damage states the team will observe in the field. The IBHS team will be using new GPS/compass cameras during this investigation, which will provide geographic information important for post-field research analysis. 

Before heading off to the research sites, the team reviewed the test section analysis, which is a prescribed area on each roof slope, in which the impacts are counted and the type of damage, such as bruising, fracturing, granule loss, is documented. On Tuesday, the team spent much of the day inspecting roofs and talking with roofers and homeowners. They found several interesting case studies that will be included in the final RICOWI report, including two houses side-by-side that experienced very different damage levels. 

Check back with this blog and LinkedIn and Twitter @disastersafety all day for news on what the research team is finding in the field.

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