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Along with the wildflowers and warm temperatures of spring comes the downside: hail season. While hailstorms can happen at any time of year, they are most common in McCoy’s states from March to May. In fact, at least two or three hailstorms each spring are typical here. Unfortunately, while there’s no preventing them, you can learn the signs and prevent and prepare for the damage they can cause.
Hail occurs in fierce thunderstorms that have updrafts so strong that raindrops are quickly pulled up into very cold areas of the atmosphere, where they freeze. As they begin to fall back toward the ground, they become larger as they collide with other raindrops that freeze onto the hailstone’s surface.
Hailstorms can happen at any time of day, but they tend to occur in the late afternoon. While they typically only last about 15 minutes, they can do a lot of damage in that short window.
Any thunderstorm, particularly at this time of year when the earth is heating up, and the atmosphere is cool, can produce hail. Your best bet is to stay up to date with weather reports and consider investing in a weather radio. In some localities, you can sign up for weather alerts on your cell phone. Some areas also have thunderstorm sirens.
Even if there are no alerts or sirens in your area, there are natural signs that a hailstorm may be on its way. These include a sudden drop in temperature on an otherwise warm day. Distant rumbling and very tall clouds are also typical signs of an approaching storm that could contain hail.
There are longer-term projects you can undertake to help prevent damage to your home from strong wind and hail, as well as quick steps you can take if time permits before a hailstorm hits.
Don’t be tempted to go outside during the storm. Getting pelted with hail can be pretty painful, and flying debris is even more dangerous. If you are in your car when a hailstorm strikes, pull over in a safe area to wait it out. The forward motion of your vehicle increases the impact of hail and makes damage to your windshield more likely.
After the storm, inspect for damage right away and take photos of anything you find to document the amount of damage for insurance purposes. If there is any damage, make only emergency repairs to ensure your home is weathertight before filing a claim with your insurance agent. This is the best way to make sure your repair costs are covered by your insurance company. Find out more details about what to do after hail hits in this article.