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Why Is Hail So Damaging?

How is Hail Made?

The most simple definition for hail is a ball of ice that falls out of a thunderstorm. The actual physics of how it forms and what makes it so destructive are both fascinating and complex.

Thunderstorm at night over trucks with lightning flashing

The inside of a thunderstorm is a violent place. Millions of gallons of water rush in every direction as powerful updrafts feed the storm with warm, moist air. Some of this water falls as rain while some of it gets caught in the main updraft. The water droplets that get lofted into the updraft are carried high into the very cold upper region of the storm. When these droplets freeze into ice, they have officially become hailstones.

Hailstones tumble around in the storm growing bigger and bigger. As more ice accumulates they also become heavier. Eventually the hail becomes too heavy to stay aloft and begins the long fall to the ground.

3 inch hailstones next to a ruler

In normal thunderstorms, hail may not get much larger than the size of a pea, roughly 1/4″. In powerful thunderstorms, hail can grow even larger due to stronger updrafts allowing for greater accumulation. When these balls of ice make contact with the surface, they can cause all kinds of damage. The weight and speed can punch holes in car windows, destroy crops, and of course ruin a roof.

roof and vent damage from hail

Why Is Hail So Damaging?

Hail that strikes your roof can compromise the integrity of your home. When a hailstone slams into an asphalt shingle, it creates an impact crater and some of the granules are knocked away. This leaves your roof more vulnerable to erosion and leaks. If hail hits a vinyl or wood shingle, there is a good chance it could crack or split completely.

hail damage to house siding, windows and awnings

The next time hail hits your area, be sure to have an inspection performed by a roofing professional. They will take photographs of damaged areas and advise you of the best course of action to mitigate any damage. Hail can also do substantial damage to windows, siding, gutters, landscaping and sheds, so be sure to have those areas checked as well.

massive hail in a persons hands
Watch for falling hailstones!

JMAC Construction understands the stress and worry that follows a severe storm event. We do everything possible to get your home back to the way it was as fast as possible. For over ten years we have helped homeowners and businesses recover from storm related damage. If you have experienced a storm and are concerned about the integrity of your roof, please contact us for a free inspection.