As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers, but what do seasonal hail storms bring? Most often, expensive damage to homes and other possessions like automobiles. If you happen to live in an area that experiences hail storms each year, one of your biggest concerns as a homeowner may be when the hail season starts and ends.
This issue has become even more relevant with storm activity seeming to ramp up over the past several years. Whether or not this is due to global warming is a discussion perhaps best left to the experts, but one thing is certain – more storms of greater intensity spell nothing but trouble for homeowners.
What can you expect for this season (and beyond) when it comes to potentially harmful hail storms? When will the hail season be over? Here’s what you need to know.
Storm Activity in Previous Years
In recent years, hail storms have caused significant damage. Texas, Colorado, and several other states across the nation normally experience seasonal hail, but according to global information and analytics company CoreLogic, 2016 was plagued by hail events that made it one of the worst seasons on record. Texas was particularly hard hit, experiencing the most severe hail season in its history and seeing property losses of nearly $700 million in Fort Worth, Plano, San Antonio, and Wylie alone.
According to a report issued by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) in May of 2016, Texas has held the top slot for losses related to hail since 2013, with just shy of 400,000 claims between 2013 and 2015. Colorado came in second, with over 180,000 claims in the same time period.
These two states account for only a little more than a fourth of total claims for the time period, with losses across the U.S. resulting in billions of dollars in damages. Further, damages due to severe hail storms seem to be increasing year over year, with a 14% increase in claims between 2013 and 2014 (from about 720,000 to just over 824,000), and a 31% increase from 2014 to 2015 (rising to over 572,000 claims).
2016 was even worse. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which tracks severe storm activity, the U.S. saw 5,412 major hail storms in 2015, and this number grew to 5,601 in 2016. Already 2017 could be shaping up to surpass last year’s numbers in both storms and damages.
The Forecast for 2017
Hail season is well underway for this year, and already several large storms have impacted states in “hail alley,” with Colorado seeing particularly high damages. A major hail storm that hit Denver in early May is stacking up to losses of over $1.4 billion (according to preliminary estimates from the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association), and a storm featuring softball-sized hail north of Dallas in March resulted in thousands of claims for home and auto damage.
When will it end? The hail season is typically most active between May and September, but some major outlying storms over the last several years have shown that hail storms don’t stick to a schedule, so there’s really no accurate way to predict exactly when this storm season will end.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Roof?
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to prevent hail damage. Ideally, your roof protects your home from hail when it falls from the sky, whether it’s the size of a pea or a pomegranate, but following hail storms you have to take steps to repair any damage to your roof so that it continues to do its job and shelter you from the elements.
If you have an older roof and you know hail damage is a very real possibility in your region, you should definitely keep up with regular inspection, maintenance, and repair, and you might want to start thinking about upgrading to a newer, more robust roof if you’ve suffered hail damage in the past or you’re worried about the current hail season.
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