Hail stones can range from around 5 millimetres in size to as large as 150 millimetres. Hail stones are made up of solid ice, and these larger ones that can come hurtling out of the sky during rough thunderstorms can naturally cause major damage and destruction. Those without protective canopies risk severe damage to property and produce.
At the onset of a major thunderstorm, it is advisable to move indoors in a hurry. Large hailstones as heavy as half a kilogram have been recorded. One certainly wouldn’t want to be hit by one of these as it hurtles out of the sky. While such sizes are less common, any blow to the head by a hail stone, with its solid ice makeup is going to be an unpleasant experience. Regular hail stones can be the size of a coin. Foreboding clouds, thunder and lightning are warning signs to quickly take shelter.
Roofs of houses bear the brunt of hail during thunderstorms. Some damage may only be cosmetic, with the force of the hail causing dents in metal roofing. These dents can also wear out the metal’s coating, exposing the roof to further damage by nature’s elements.
Once a hail storm is over, it is worth inspecting the house and outside structure for any obvious damage. Sometimes this is hard to identify. If it can be spotted, a prompt fix can help eliminate further problems later. For example, damage to a pipe or gutter may cause leaking, therefore allowing water to move to unwanted areas, possibly causing rust or wall damage if not identified in time.
Motor vehicles are very susceptible to hail damage. Just like with metal roofing of houses, cars can easily sustain many dents and dints in a bad hailstorm if left out in the open. Most people would probably consider the aesthetics of a car to be much more important than unseen house roofs, so cars should be kept undercover during hail storms.
During a major hailstorm in Sydney, Australia in 1999, many car dealerships left cars outdoors and exposed. The result was a large glut of pockmarked vehicles that needed to be sold at major discounts to their pre hail storm prices. Many car sales yards now have protective netting installed to ward off damaging hail stones.
Many crops are also very vulnerable to damage by hail stones. It must be incredibly painful for farmers, who face enough challenges as it is, to see their carefully tended and nurtured plants destroyed in a brief onslaught from above. Just like car dealers, some farmers have turned to protective netting devices in order to resist the force of hail stones.
The sight of a torrent of hail stones crashing to earth can be an amazing sight. The downside is the unfortunate destruction that this can cause. Agricultural production is put at risk, vehicles and property may be at the sky’s mercy and in extreme cases, even human life can be endangered. Human life should be protected first and foremost. For property, cars and farming produce, bird netting solutions, if employed in advance, can often protect against the damage of hail.
By Justin N. Murray