Baseball- to softball-sized hail from a trio of separate hailstorms on Wednesday punched holes through roofs in Texas and Oklahoma, leaving what insurance experts predict will certainly exceed $1 billion in damages.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a trio of hailstorms rolled across the border of northern Mexico and continued into the evening through parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Giant ice-rocks fell from the sky, some three inches in diameter (the size of tennis balls and baseballs) and others up to four inches in diameter (about the size of softballs). Due to their size and velocity, the hailstones were large enough to punch through the roofs of some houses.
They hail broke windows in homes and smashed the windshields of vehicles, as well as dented automobile exteriors.
“It quickly became clear that we were almost certainly facing a billion-dollar event,” wrote Steve Bowen, head of catastrophe insight at Aon Insurance, the Washington Post reported. “Unfortunately, we saw significant hail swaths impact highly exposed areas around San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Norman.”
“We’re pretty much at the point where billion-dollar U.S. thunderstorm events are a common occurrence,” Bowen wrote. “Hail is largely the main driver of annual thunderstorm losses. The explosive growth of population into high-risk thunderstorm regions is undoubtedly the primary driver of these increased losses.”
In addition, such severe weather undoubtedly leads to accidents, increasing the need for people to seek out an injury lawyer.
The rotating thunderstorms began firing south of Abilene, Texas, beginning around 2 PM, the Post reported. Quarter- to ping-pong size hail first came down in Parker County, Texas, about 15 miles west of Fort Worth. But the size of the hail grew larger, about the size of golf balls or chicken eggs. The strong winds also toppled a mobile home, injuring three people. The storm then continued through and northwest of Fort Worth, ultimately leaving a 20-mile track of destructive hell, some of which reached tennis ball size. The hail also shredded trees.
A supercell thunderstorm crossed the border of northern Mexico late afternoon and dumped 3-inch diameter hail near Laughlin Air Force Base, southeast of del Rio, Texas, the Weather Company reported.
At the same time that Texas was getting pummeled by storms in San Antonio and Fort Worth, a third thunderstorm grew into a monster that raged over Oklahoma affecting portions of Norman and Oklahoma City, pummeling it with baseball-size hail.
In addition to homes and vehicles, the hailstorm also damaged and mangled traffic lights. Hail damaged homes in numerous ways, including breaking windows, punching through walls and roofs, denting garage doors, external doors, and pock-marking exterior siding. Vehicles left outdoors had their windshields or windows shattered and were left dented. Estimates on damage to vehicles are expected to reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
Not only was the hail upwards of four inches in diameter, but the hailstorm itself was widespread, spanning a swath some 40 miles long, driven by winds that reached up to 70 mph.