If you are prompted to ask the question, ‘Why would I ever need a hail locator?’, then either you don’t live in an area that is prone to tornadoes and hail storms or you just don’t have an interest in protecting yourself and your property. This may seem a bit harsh but if there is a system available that can tell you when a hail storm is coming, and you aren’t using it, you are overlooking a serious advantage. Hail storms can cause extreme damage to property and injury and even death. They are dangerous!
On average there are 1000 tornadoes and 3000 hail storms a year in the United States. Most of these occur between April and August, in what is called tornado season, and they cause havoc as they hit much of the central swathe of the U.S. The most severe storms can produce hail stones as big as 3 inches in diameter, or about the size of a softball.
Clearly a stone of ice this big can cause a lot of damage but if you add to this high wind speeds that are associated with tornadoes then you increase the potential damage exponentially. With high speed wind conditions, even smaller hail stones can cause serious damage. This is why you need a hail locator.
If an extreme hail storm is coming and you are caught unawares, you will not have time to move your property under a shelter and protect it from damage caused by hail stones, you will also not have time to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe. A hail locator can give you this time so that you can prepare for the storm and minimize the risk to yourself, your family and your property. In order to best do this you need to plan ahead. So what are the things that you can do to prevent injury or property damage?
There are some things that you need to do in advance. You need to have a storm kit that is appropriately stocked and kept in the house where everyone can find it. With the hail locator warning this will be invaluable. Your storm kit needs to contain the following items, a minimum of three days’ worth of water and food that is non-perishable. This is per person. You will also need a stocked first aid kit and a portable radio with new batteries.
Keep any prescription medication in this kit, as well as the emergency contact numbers that you will need. Make sure you also have a working flashlight and waterproof matches. These are the basics for an emergency storm kit, and include whatever else you think you might need. Also put in place a plan of action that everyone knows to follow. When the hail locator indicates that there is a storm coming you will know what to do to keep everyone safe.
Once personal safety is taken care of you can think about your property. In advance you might want to consider UL2218 or FM4473, class three or four – these are shingles that are proven to deal with the damage caused by hail. You also need to keep all the trees around your house trimmed so that a falling branch won’t damage the house.
Replace any gravel in the garden with shredded bark, as this will cause much less damage if blown up by the storm. With the advanced warning that your hail locator will give you, you can make sure your family is safe.
You can also then make sure that your property is safe. Move any garden furniture into a covered area. Make sure the car has been moved under cover. Then you need to close all the windows and outside doors, closing the curtains to stop flying glass injuring anyone.
When the actual storm hits, have a safe place to wait until the storm is over. This should be a space away from any windows. Extreme weather conditions such as hail storms can cause a lot of damage and even endanger lives. The use of a hail locator will give you extra time to protect yourself, your family and your property – saving lives but also potentially saving you a lot of money.