Wednesday, April 13, 2016

One Hail of a Week in Texas

Map of Wylie, TX
There's a saying that "everything is bigger in Texas", and this week Texans saw some big big hail. On both Monday and Tuesday severe thunderstorms pounded areas with large hail and strong winds, a very damaging combination. Insurance adjusters are going to be very busy in Texas for awhile.

On Monday, April 11 severe thunderstorms pounded the area around Wylie, TX, just east of Plano and northeast of Dallas, with 2 to 5 inch diameter hail.

The storm hit during the late afternoon/early evening and moved ESE through the region. 

Radar reflectivity in northern Texas  at 4:40 p.m. CDT on Monday, April 11, 2016

Winds gusted to 60-70 mph at times with these storms, and that turned golf-ball to baseball-size hail into destructive and deadly missiles. The hail produced extensive damage to vehicles that were outside, but also caused large amounts to homes as the wind-driven hail shattered windows, pockmarked siding, and even punched through roofs and ceilings. This wasn't just 30 seconds of hail - in many cases it lasted for several minutes.

Softball-size hail (4.5") in Wylie.
Credit: Kristin Baxter via Twitter

Holes punched through a roof  (left) and damage to an exterior wood door (right) from large hail  in Wylie, TX.
Source: Twitter

Here is a video of hail smashing in windows and blinds in a home in Wylie.

The damage was extensive enough that the Wylie school district canceled Tuesday classes at all 19 campuses. Damage occurred not only to school buses but to many of the school buildings as well.

This image is of a product named MESH (Maximum Expected Size of Hail) uses multiple radar data parameters to depict the swath of hail and the size expected.

Hail swath as of 6:50 p.m. CDT April 11, showing the largest hail over Wylie, TX
The Forth Worth office of the National Weather Service provided this 3-D depiction of the storm as the largest hail was falling on Wylie.

On Tuesday, April 12 the hail threat shifted into south Texas. Storms developing along the Rio Grande moved east dropping hail 2 to 3.5 inches in diameter.

Hail swaths associated with the severe thunderstorms in Texas on April 12. San Antonio is located in the center upper third of the image (labeled SAT).

 The storm with the largest hail hit near and in San Antonio. Again, many vehicles were damaged, and one report indicated that one hundred to perhaps as many as 300 luxury vehicles were damaged at a BMW dealer lot in San Antonio.

Hail that fell on San Antonio on April 12.

This is not the first time this season that severe hail has pummeled Texas. On March 17 a storm rolled through the Fort Worth area dropping 1 to 2.5 inch hail, causing an estimated $300 million damage to vehicles alone. Damage estimates for Wylie, when finally compiled, could be staggering. Many vehicles were totaled and there was extensive damage to homes. The storm in San Antonio Tuesday may end up being the costliest on record there, with preliminary damage estimates of $125 million. Texas hail events in March, along with these latest two storms are likely to push damages in the past month alone to in excess of $2 billion.

Measuring hail is a core mission of CoCoRaHS, and the separate hail reports on the CoCoRaHS web site allow you to submit your hail information. There are a few things you need to know before measuring hail, and you can find that information in our "Measuring Hail" training animation. Here is a hail size reference and measuring guide you can download, print, and laminate for use. You can download it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment