Weather Wednesday – Hail

On this April Fools Day, we’ll be discussing hail. Hail is widespread throughout the world, but doesn’t often have the top of mind awareness of other storm-related topics…unless, that is, you’re growing crops or insuring buildings or vehicles. According to the National Weather Service’s hail page, the average loss from hail each year is about a billion dollars. However, in 2001 there was one storm event that eventually stretched from Kansas City to Illinois that caused $2-billion damage on a single day.

Hail is not normally considered a major threat to human life. The last reported fatality in the United States was in 2000 when a Texas man died after being struck by a softball sized hail stone. Two children reportedly perished in Russia in 2014. Livestock losses are reported from time to time.

The National Weather Service rates hail from less than a quarter inch or pea sized to over 4 inches or softball sized. The preferred references are actual measurements or approximations based on fixed sizes such as a quarter or a regulation sized softball. “Grapefruit sized” is a far less precise term. One of the reasons for using common objects as references is it allows storm spotters and others to report the size without venturing out into a storm with its associated risks to take actual measurements.

vivian_hailThe largest hail stone reported in the U.S was over 8 inches in diameter with a circumference of over 18 inches.

corn_field_hail_6-24-14
Phil Katz-MSU Extension

Crop loss from hail is a significant risk to producers. Depending on where crops are in the growth cycle and the extent of the damage, growers are often cautioned to have a little patience to determine if the crops can bounce back. Many state extension services can provide more information.

 

hail carDamage to vehicles is usually pretty obvious in terms of dents and broken glass. There are some DIY fixes for smaller dents including letting the vehicle sit in the hot sun so the metal expands a bit. The best advice though is to contact your insurance carrier and/or a competent body shop. A worst case scenario is when a new car dealer’s lot or other parking lot is hit. Damage can easily escalate into six figures or more. Several years ago here in the Champaign-Urbana area, dozens and dozens of cars parked at the local airport were badly damaged.

thHail can also damage roofs constructed of various materials. Again, working with your insurance carrier to arrange for an inspection by a qualified roofer is always a good idea. Some damage may be hard for the untrained eye to see and ladder work is often best left to professionals anyway.

Siding on homes also can be easily damaged. Steel or aluminum siding can be dented and still maintain its structural and weatherproof integrity.Bad_Siding_Hail_Damage Hail can absolutely shred vinyl siding and immediate action to cover exposed underlayment or insulation is necessary to avoid more widespread water damage.

 

 

howhail
NOAA Graphic

One question that is often asked is, does the presence of hail, especially large hail, tell us anything about the structure of a thunderstorm? Since hail is formed when water droplets freeze as they are lifted above the 32-degree line by updrafts, it stands to reason that the presence of ever larger hail stones in a storm reflects the strength of that updraft so it can be an indicator of both the strength and height of a thunderstorm cell. Hail is easily seen on radar because of its dense mass. Many videos shot by storm chasers show large hail as part of some tornadic thunderstorms.

Ag In UncertainTimes: Webinar 2 — Tax and Financial Risks Due to Drought and Disaster

A reminder of the  Ag in Uncertain Times webinar Friday December 7, 2012, 12:00 Eastern/11:00 Central/10:00 Mountain/9:00 Pacific  — Tax and Financial Risks Due to Drought and Disaster

The webinar is part of a series by the North Central Risk Management Education Center and co-hosted by the Agriculture and Applied  Economics Section (Extension Section)  and is being hosted by Montana State University Technology at this link – http://msuextensionconnect.org/aginuncertaintimes

 

The third webinar is set for January 22, 2013 and will address strategies for the coming production year with uncertain institutional, production, and market risks.

Kim Cassel         Dec 7 AgInUncertainTimes_FLYER

EDEN Drought Team

As Seasonal Drought Outlook (below) shows peristence and intensification of the drought over much of the country through the end of the year, I share with you the leadership of  the newly formed Drought NEIL (National EDEN Issue Leader) Team.  The team is charged with the development of  sustainable EDEN and EDEN eXtension drought preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation research based resources.  Working from a Logic Model, we will be building on the excellent resources shared by Extension Specialists and County Extension Educators.

 

University Who Email Phone
South Dakota State University E. Kim Cassel Kim.cassel@sdstate.edu 605-696-7873
University of Tennessee Tim Prather tprather@tennessee.edu 865-974-7266
University of Kentucky Tom Priddy Priddy@uky.edu 859-257-3000 ext 245
Auburn University Virginia Morgan morgamv@auburn.edu 334-844-5699
Purdue University Steve Cain cain@purdue.edu 765-494-8410
Louisiana State University Pat Skinner pskinner@agcenter.lsu.edu 225-578-2910
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rick Atterberry ratterbe@illinois.edu 217-244-2828
University of Missouri Bev Maltsberger MaltsbergerB@missouri.edu 816-279-1691
University of Minnesota Phyllis Onstad onsta003@umn.edu 507-796-6008
University of Missouri Sherry Nelson NelsonS@missouri.edu 573-769-2177
Oregon State University Lynette Black lynette.black@oregonstate.edu 541-296-5494
University of Arkansas Deborah Tootle dtootle@uaex.edu 501-671-2228
South Dakota State University Alvaro Garcia Alvaro.garcia@sdstate.edu 605-688-5488
University of Nebraska – Lincoln Rick Koelsch rkoelsch1@unl.edu 402-472-2966
NIFA/USDA Bill Hoffman whoffman@NIFA.USDA.GOV 202-401-1112

 

Kim Cassel