The United States is a giant country that has many different micro-climates and weather systems, but there are some parts of the country that are particularly vulnerable to severe hail storms and hail damage. These areas will often have dedicated hail watch departments that scan the weather systems to try and give people an advance warning of an impending storm that could cause any damage. There are many thousands of storms and hail showers that happen every year without causing any damage, but equally there are many storms that can cause huge problems for unprepared householders and residents.
Probably the most vulnerable part of the country that is likely to see large hail damage reports is that which already suffers from another major weather issue, which is the tornado. ‘Tornado Alley’ will sometimes vary slightly depending on the perspective of the individual, but it is generally acknowledged to cover the states to be found between the Rocky Mountain range and the Appalachian mountain range. The states in this area will usually see the largest number of damaging hail reports, and these include Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and parts of South Dakota and Colorado.
The reason for these states being particularly vulnerable to damaging hail storms is that they offer the best possible surroundings for hail to form, as it does require specific climatic criteria. One of the key aspects of this is that these states are away from coastlines, which are naturally milder in terms of temperature. The main features for the formation of hail are that the temperature needs to be below zero degrees Celsius and also in an area where there is plenty of precipitation.
There are over ten thousand hail storms that happen in the continental United States every year, and a high proportion of these will happen in the states referred to as ‘Tornado Alley’. It is worth noting that those areas closest to the mountain ranges can be particularly at risk from hail damage. Although hail storms generally move quite quickly and happen over a short period of time, they can slow down or even stop moving, and this is most likely to happen in those areas closest to the mountain ranges.
The Rest of the United States
Although the hail map does show a distinct increase of storms happening in ‘Tornado Alley’, this isn’t the only area to experience such storms. Florida is known to suffer some damaging storms from time to time, but any area of the country can experience storms on occasion. Hail can often occur without warning, but those hail storms that are likely to cause significant damage will often be spotted on a hail watch and people can be warned in advance.
For areas that are close to the coast, these storms will usually only be a problem during a period of cold weather, as the conditions won’t be conducive for the formation of hail for much of the year. Further inland, it is worth watching out for fast moving weather fronts that have a lot of rain clouds moving in to areas of cold weather, as this will often lead to the right conditions for hail.
Hail Damage Across The United States
The damage that can be caused by hail is huge across the country, and some estimates suggest that the repairs of hail damage every year can amount up to $1 billion. The majority of this will be because of the repairs that are required to homes and cars, but equally a lot of the damage can happen to public buildings, and almost anything with a glass surface can suffer such damage.
As well as the damage to objects and property, there are also rare cases that have been reported of people being injured by large hailstones. These hail damage reports are particularly rare, as the odds of being hit by a very large hailstone are very long indeed. Even in the storms that produce the largest hailstones, the majority of the storm will be made up of small hail stones with only one or two larger ones, meaning that although it is possible for people to suffer head trauma or concussion, this is a negligible risk in reality.