Hail Season News item posted on : Wednesday March 17th 2021
Hail season is here for some and approaching for many. Hail can occur in any season, but different regions of the United States experience hail at different times of the year. Hail season begins in March for many southern states and May for northern states. The region where Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming meet is known as Hail Alley. It tops the list as the most common area for hailstorms.
Hailstones are formed when raindrops are carried upward by thunderstorm updrafts into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere and freeze, according to NOAA. The storm then grows colliding with liquid water drops that freeze onto hailstones. The hail falls when the thunderstorm’s updraft can no longer support the weight of the hailstone and is pulled to the earth by gravity. High winds can cause hail to fall at an angle or even sideways, causing damage to the siding of homes, broken windows and causing injury to people and animals.
Hail can range in size. Most hailstorms are made up of a mix of sizes. Hail size is often estimated by comparing it to known objects. Below is a list of common hail sizes.
- Pea = 1/4 inch diameter
- Mothball = 1/2 inch diameter
- Penny = ¾ inch diameter
- Nickel = 7/8 inch
- Quarter = 1 inch — hail quarter size or larger is considered severe
- Ping-Pong Ball = 1 1/2 inch
- Golf Ball = 1 3/4 inches
- Tennis Ball = 2 1/2 inches
- Baseball = 2 3/4 inches
- Teacup = 3 inches
- Softball = 4 inches
- Grapefruit = 4 1/2 inches
The largest hailstone recovered in the U.S. fell in Vivian, South Dakota, on June 23, 2010. It measured with a diameter of 8 inches ad a circumference of 18.62 inches, weighing 1 lb 15 oz.
In 2019, Texas experienced 872 hailstorms, documented by the NOAA’s National Weather Services. In Texas, hail season lasts from March until May, with May being the most active. In 2019 South Texas saw golf-ball-sized hail causing $1.4 billions in damages.