When drivers see storm clouds rolling in they are not always expecting solid precipitation, but in some areas of the country hail is a common event. Hail is formed in strong thunderstorm clouds with freezing cloud temperatures, intense updrafts, and large water droplets. The three of those combined and a few other factors can form layered, irregular hail.
On average hail is about 1 to 1.75 inches, however, in South Carolina and Georgia the largest recorded pieces of hail have been 4.25 inches. The largest recorded hail stone in the United States was 8 inches and weighed nearly 2 pounds.
Hail storms will most likely occur in the South Carolina/Georgia area around spring when thunderstorms are most prominent and typically strike between 3pm and 8pm.
Tips for Driving in Hail
Driving in a thunderstorm can cause many problems and hail can make it even more difficult to drive safely. If you find yourself caught in a hail storm, whether as a driver or passenger, here are a few tips for handling the difficult driving situation.
- Turn on your low beams.
- Allow extra room for braking.
- Slow down.
- Approach intersections cautiously.
- If possible pull into a parking garage or sturdy shelter to minimize any hail damage to your vehicle.
- You may also pull over to the side, or shoulder, of the road away from any trees that could fall on your vehicle. Be sure to remain inside your car.
Drivers must remember that not only are they subject to the hail storm, other drivers are as well, so you have be extra cautious of those driving around you. It is important you stay indoors or in your vehicle as hail has been recorded to cause concussions and in rare cases, death.
How Hail Can Damage Your Property
Different types of bad weather can damage your property, but hail can cause the most damage especially during a severe storm. Common damage your car might experience:
- Broken back or side windows
- Cracked front windshields — front windshields are created to withstand more damage
- Chip car paint
- An auto accident
- …and cause much more damage
You may find that damage was done to your home and other property. You may want to contact your insurance providers to see if your property is covered.
Driving in Hail Hazards
The National Weather Service recommends taking the same precautions for driving in hail as you would for driving in a thunderstorm. Hail can cause drivers to experience
- Decreased visibility
- Wet Roads
- Bumpy Roads
- Downed Traffic Lights
- ..and more
If hail accumulates in water drains it could also cause flooding from the thunderstorm which is just another hazard drivers need to watch for.