A hailstorm is an outgrowth of a severe thunderstorm in which balls or irregularly shaped lumps of ice fall with rain. Hail is formed in thunderstorms when the updraft is strong enough to hold freezing masses of water above the freezing level.
When hail hits, it can damage cars, break windows, shred roof coverings, and lead to water-damaged ceilings, walls, floors, appliances, and personal possessions. Large hailstones can also cause serious bodily injury. Hailstones can fall at high velocities, with baseball size hail reaching 100 mph.
Are we at risk? The National Weather Service, Tulsa Office, indicates hail 0.75 inches or larger occurs most often between March and June in Eastern Oklahoma and between the hours of 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm. Tulsa has an average of three days per year with 1.25 inch hail or larger. Hail caused over $24 million in damages to the City of Tulsa between 1995 and 2011. According to the 2014 City of Tulsa Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, the City of Tulsa has a high probability of hail storms and can expect to experience an average of 15 hail events each year.
What to do? Not all severe weather is alike, which is why your reactions to different storms also shouldn’t be alike. To find out more about the differences in response between tornado and hail, go to https://disastersafety.org/hail/know-the-difference-how-to-react-during-a-hailstorm-and-tornado/.
Don’t Goof When You Re-roof. Many roofing manufacturers have Class-4 impact rated shingles available that are designed for hail. In addition to impact-resistant shingles, there are other things you can do to protect your roof from hail damage and subsequent water intrusion when you replace your roof. The IBHS FORTIFIED Home™ High Wind and Hail standard identifies these practices for existing homes and new construction. For information on this standard and an available designation program using trained third-party evaluators, go to http://www.fortifiedhome.org/homeowners or http://www.smarthomeamerica.org/dont-goof.