18 Apr

Hail Facts: How Ice Turns into Costly Repairs

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PRC Hail DamageIf you live in North Texas, you may be one of the thousands wondering, “What the hail happened to my roof?” Fortunately, our home and office dodged the recent hail bullet which was surprising since we’re located in the north part of Collin County, one of the areas hit. But, I had several customers send me photos of what was happening at their houses. My favorite was the photo on the right and a text saying, “Jeff, I’m no expert but I think we need you again.”

So how much do you know about hail? Since it impacts our business, I know a lot about those destructive objects. If you’re a “fact aficionado” like me, you might appreciate the following information. It will help you understand how those little ice balls can cause so many dents and pocks in your roof, gutters and fence.

Who decides what size hail it is?

Well, the National Weather Service weighs in with some facts. Based on diameter, from smallest to largest…

  • Pea: ¼ inch
  • Marble: ½ inch
  • Penny: ¾ inch
  • Nickel: 7/8 inch
  • Quarter: 1 inch (hail at least quarter size is considered severe)
  • Ping-Pong ball: 1½ inch
  • Golf ball: 1¾ inch
  • Tennis ball: 2½ inches
  • Baseball: 2¾ inches
  • Grapefruit: 4 inches
  • Softball: 4½ inches

Hail doesn’t play favorites. It’s not just a Texas menace.

Living in Texas, we get our share of hail…and hail damage. But we’re not even in the top three most frequently hit states. Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming top the list with the area where these states meet being called Hail Alley. And Cheyenne, Wyoming is the most hailed on city in America, with close to ten hailstorms a year. Not that it provides any comfort but perhaps knowing it could be worse will make you feel a little less picked on. And, it’s not just the United States either. China, Italy, Russia, and India receive significant amounts of hail as well.

How is hail created?

I always find it interesting to know how things are made. In fact, “How It’s Made” is one of my favorite shows (but not my wife Joey’s by any stretch). So, here is a simple explanation of how hail is formed. In short, a hail pellet can go on an amazing ride before it collides with the ground or, unfortunately, your roof, gutter, flowerbed or car.

  • The best place for hail to be born is inside the biggest clouds. If you remember from elementary school, they’re called cumulonimbus clouds. Inside these clouds, strong updrafts of warm air and downdrafts of cold air are circulating simultaneously.
  • If a drop of water catches a ride on a warm updraft, it can quickly travel to the top of the cloud where temperatures are below freezing. A hail droplet is formed in the freezing temperatures and then it can travel in a cold downdraft towards the bottom of the cloud where it’s warm. On its trip down, it starts to thaw.
  • The journey is not over for the little pellet because it can quickly catch a ride on another updraft and soar back up into the brutally cold part of the cloud. On its way up, it takes on another layer of moisture and then it refreezes. Freeze…slightly thaw…and repeat adding another layer of ice with each trip and growing in size.
  • At some point, it drops out of the bottom of the cloud and heads downward. The larger the hail pellet, the faster it falls which is a whole other story called terminal velocity.

I hope you found these facts interesting. Now, if you’re ready to learn how Peak Roofing & Construction can help you with your recent hail damage or any other exterior project you’ve been putting off, please give us a call. We’re here to help.

About Peak Roofing & Construction

Peak Roofing and Construction is family-owned, with 30-years of experience. Bonded, insured and accredited, we provide roofing, gutter, fence, window and exterior facelift services. Guaranteed. Call 972-335-7325 (Dallas-Fort Worth) or 281-290-7325 (Houston) today!

Jeff Riss

Jeff Riss

Jeff has 20 years of sales experience, a love of roofing, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. He leads Peak Roofing & Construction’s team but also is known for getting his hands (and knees) dirty on a job site. His passion for customer service, integrity, and quality craftsmanship drives his success. Peak Roofing & Construction is a family-owned, locally-operated business focused on doing things the right way. His deep understanding of roofing, gutters, windows, fences and exterior painting provide a strong foundation for running the business and serving his customers.