Hailstorms are a relatively rare weather event, and in most instances they are nothing to be overly concerned about. Sometimes, however, these storms feature hail that is as large as grapefruits and causes massive amounts of damage. Since 1960, the U.S. has experienced 16 hail storms that either damaged a considerable amount of property or injured numerous people. Although each of these storms was devastating, the five included on the list below are the worst in recent history.
Top 5 Worst Hail Storms in the U.S.
1. July 30, 1979 - Thousands of Fort Collins, Colorado residents were impacted by the brunt of a violent hailstorm. Before the 40 minute storm was over, it had severely damaged close to 2,500 cars and 2,000 houses. The grapefruit sized hail was also responsible for killing a three-month old baby and injuring at least 25 other people.
2. June 19, 1992 - This storm still ranks as the worst in the history of Wichita, Kansas. During a six-hour time frame, the city was devastating by two severe thunderstorms that were accompanied by hail measuring up to 4.5 inches in diameter. Approximately 10,000 homes sustained damage, and the hail also caused $100 million in crop damage.
3. May 18, 2000 - A hailstorm caused $572 million in property damage in the Chicago area, and it also left approximately 100,000 homes without power. The softball sized hail formed piles up to 3 inches thick, and it damaged windows, skylights, cars, roofs and patio furniture throughout the entire area. Due to the severity of the storm, 100 flights had to be cancelled, and train service was temporarily interrupted.
4. April 20-21, 2006 - A hailstorm that spanned two days caused over 17,000 insurance claims and resulted in the hospitalization of a resident who was struck on the head by a piece of hail. A Toyota dealership and the San Marcos Outlet Malls were hit especially hard.
5. October 5, 2010 - Phoenix, Arizona was having a typical October day when a massive and very sudden hailstorm blanketed several neighborhoods with rock sized hail. Not only did the hail cause damage by pummeling into cars and houses, but it also brought a shocking cold front along with it. According to eye witnesses, the temperature dropped at least 30 degrees in less than five minutes, and some people even reported being able to see their breath.
Largest Hailstone in History
The largest hailstone in recorded history fell in Vivian, South Dakota on July 23, 2010. The eight inch diameter stone was larger than a bowling ball and weighed almost two pounds.
Make Sure You are Protected
Our Phoenix hail damage attorneys from the Doyle Raizner group note that one of the after effects of such a hail storm where property is damaged, is a rise in disputed insurance claims regarding roofing repairs. Hail damage is most likely covered by your property or auto insurance, but it is important to make sure that you do not have to carry a special hailstorm rider. Some insurance companies do not cover specific types of weather issues, such as tornadoes, unless additional insurance has been purchased. Ask your insurance agent about hail coverage before the next storm hits your area.
Karla M. Somers is a former mediator who writes about legal issues and disputes. She contributes this informative article for the Phoenix hail damage attorneys of Doyle Raizner. These trial lawyers are experienced in resolving insurance disputes as a result of property damage from hail storms, tornadoes, fires and hurricanes with all types of homeowners insurance companies.