The only ice you want to see in the summer are the cubes floating in your glass of tea, but sometimes Mother Nature decides to ice down the entire countryside with that most ironic of precipitation forms: hail. Just when you think you are safe from slipping and sliding on snow, sleet, and freezing rain, along comes a hail storm.
Hail occurs in the spring and summer when thunderstorms produce enough energy to cause strong updrafts. These updrafts lift the raindrops high enough to freeze, and then, when the resulting stones become too heavy to stay up, they pour down with a vengeance, sometimes at speeds up to 90 mph. Although some hail stones can be fingertip size, others can weigh up to a pound. The strongest updrafts lift the water higher and produce the largest hail. In the United States, these hail storms generally occur in the plains states, such as Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa.
Staying safe during a hail storm is mostly common sense. If hail is on the way, seek shelter indoors, and stay away from windows. If you are on the road, drive under an overpass, if possible. Although stationary cars are generally a safe place to be during hail storms, hail stones larger than golf balls can break through automobile glass and injure you. Also, wait until the storm has entirely passed before going out to collect a particularly large piece of hail as a souvenir.
The most common casualties of a hail storm are cars, windows, and roofs. Insurance companies are inundated with claims after severe storms, meaning their adjusters are kept busy for weeks following up with business, home, and vehicle owners. Car and window damage is obvious, but roof damage takes some analysis to determine if normal aging is the culprit or if the hail stones did the job. Businesses often need to call commercial roofing firms like Bell Roof Co to get their businesses back in good operating order. The residential roofers are under siege as well, along with auto body and glass replacement and repair firms.
Wintertime ice is dangerous and often frightening, but summertime ice is no picnic, either. Large hail stones can wreck havoc on your home, business, or vehicle. After a hailstorm, inspect your property, cars, and trucks and contact your insurance company if necessary. Remember that roofs may sustain more subtle damage than other things affected by hail, so have someone inspect yours to determine if it needs repair or replacement.