17 June 2019
What the Hail?!
What the Hail?!


How about that storm? It came up out of nowhere like a drunkard on a bender, trashed your house, and left without even so much as a goodbye. The whole rest of the week, our phones were ringing off the hook with people needing estimates to replace damaged garage doors, windows, and doors. How can hail get that big that fast?

Well, I looked into it.

Hail is possible with most thunderstorms as hail is produced by cumulonimbus clouds. Hail formation requires strong upwards currents of air and is actually made kind of like cotton candy in a machine. It all swirls around inside the thunderstorm, gathering layer after layer of water that freezes onto a solid core. As the layers are added, the hailstone eventually weighs too much to be supported by the wind and falls to the ground. Then, gravity takes over and we have ourselves a right mess.

According to the National Weather Service, in order for a thunderstorm to produce dime-sized hail, its updraft speed would need to be at least thirty-seven miles per hour. For golf ball-sized hail, updraft speeds would need to be around fifty-six mph. Baseball-sized hail requires strong winds that are blowing upwards of one hundred mph. Whoa, talk about a storm!

While we’re on that subject, let’s talk about record-breakers. The heaviest hailstone was reported in Gopalganj, Bangladesh on April 14, 1986 weighing in at a whopping 2.25 pounds. The largest hailstone by circumference actually comes from our own Vivian, South Dakota in 2010, measuring 7.9 inches in diameter. The greatest average hail precipitation falls in Kericho, Kenya which experiences hailstorms an average of fifty days annually. They currently hold the record for 132 days of hail in one year.

So, let’s all just be happy that we don’t live in Kenya and if you need an estimate on replacement products after the hailstorm, give us a call at 610-398-2430. 

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