Researchers hold indoor hail storm

Author: Mary Lee, Meteorologist, mlee@kprc.com
Published On: Feb 20 2013 02:41:15 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 20 2013 10:00:53 PM CST
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HOUSTON -

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety Research Center in Richburg, South Carolina just performed the first-ever indoor hail storm Wednesday.

Inside the massive test chamber, researchers fired 10,000 hail stones from the ceiling about 60 feet high down to a house and car. They created a four-minute hail storm. Researchers launched 1-2 inch balls of ice made of pure water and seltzer water, resembling the closest thing to actual hail. Hail stones were sent flying out of air cannons at speeds up to 74 mph.

Severe hail storms are the biggest severe weather threat to Texas homeowners. The Lone Star State had the most severe hail storms than any other state in the nation, causing $1.7 billion in damages last year. That's more than hurricanes and tornadoes combined. In Texas, hail is the number one cause of homeowners' insurance losses.

The most damage in the hail test was to the roof with damage to the gutters as well. Researchers recommend homeowners install impact resistant roofing instead of standard roofing, which had significant dents and damage.

Unfortunately, unless your car is parked inside your garage or under a car port, you might end up with big dents and a cracked windshield.

"Today, we used 1-2 inch diameter hail stones, but in Texas, unfortunately you see hail bigger than that," said Julie Rochman, IBHS President and CEO. "The damage we saw today was bad to the roof, gutters and particularly the car, but in Texas, you guys experience this all the time."

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