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The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Oh wait—that’s just hail. These hard, frozen nuggets are formed when raindrops pass through a belt of cold air on their way to earth. The cold air causes the raindrops to freeze into small blocks of ice. Hail most commonly causes damage to property, vehicles and crops; more than $1 billion in damage each year. In fact, the costliest thunderstorm event in U.S. history struck Fort Worth in 1995. But considering the fact that large stones can fall at speeds faster than 100 mph, it’s important that you cover your head and learn what to do when hail is present.  
On May 5, 1995, an isolated severe thunderstorm developed ahead of an already intense squall line in Fort Worth and injured over 100 people. Cars were pummeled with grapefruit-sized hail, vegetation was totally stripped from the trees and shrubs, and rain poured down at a rate of as much as three inches in thirty minutes, causing massive flash flooding. The storm cost billions of dollars—a figure once reserved only for major hurricane damage, making this thunderstorm event by far the costliest in U.S. history.
Hailstorm Safety Tips:
  • When driving into a hailstorm, find a safe place to pullover and turn your vehicle so the hail will be hitting the windshield. The safety glass in the windshield will help protect you.
  • In a building, stay away from windows!
  • If you are outside, seek shelter immediately! Hail of any size can be dangerous when pelted in high winds.
  • If you can’t protect your entire body, at least try to protect your head. Many hailstorm related deaths are due to being struck in the head with a hail stone.
  • If weather conditions are prime for a storm, move cars, boats, RVs, and lawn and patio furniture into a covered area.
Last updated: 1/18/2012 8:59:25 AM