While hail storms might not get the same attention as other extreme weather events like tornados and hurricanes, they can cause severe property and automobile damage, cause power outages, and accumulate to dangerous levels.
We’ve rounded up more than 20 helpful hail damage statistics that reveal these ice balls’ surprising annual impact.
- There were 4,436 hail events in 2022.
- In 2021, more than 6.8 million US properties were affected by hail events.
- Spring and autumn are the peak hail seasons.
- Texas had the highest number of hail events in 2022, with 458.
- The official terminology for hail size ranges from 0.25 inches to 4 inches.
- The largest hailstone ever recorded in the US hit Vivian, South Dakota, in 2010.
- There have only been eight hail-related deaths in the United States since 1942.
- Hail causes an estimated $8-14 billion in damage each year.
- The costliest hailstorm occurred on April 10, 2001, causing $2.5 billion in damage to eastern Kansas, southwestern Illinois, and the St. Louis Area.
- The number of hail claims increased by almost 45,000 between 2021 and 2022.
- Hail causes $1.3 billion in crop damage annually, representing 1-2% of crop value.
- Minnesota had the most hail loss claims in 2022, followed by Texas and Arkansas.
22 Hail Damage Statistics
Below are some more of the top hail damage statistics you need to know.
There were 4,436 hail events in 2022 (NOAA Annual Severe Weather Report Summary)
That’s an increase of nearly 18% compared to the number of hail events in 2021 when there were 3,762.
Spring and summer are peak hail seasons (AccuWeather)
It may seem strange that the highest incidence of hail storms is in the warmest seasons of the year, but they require a very particular set of conditions to form.
First, the air near the ground has to be warm enough to rise through the cold air above it, called an updraft. As it travels upwards, it takes water droplets, which freeze in the storm clouds. The continuous updraft bounces the freezing drops around, during which they collect even more moisture, growing larger over time.
Eventually, they become too heavy for the updraft to carry and fall to the ground.
In 2021, more than 6.8 million US properties were affected by hail events (Continuing Education Center Architecture + Construction)
The damage totaled $16.5 billion, with Texas alone accounting for 31% ($5.1 billion).
“Hail Alley” experiences more hail storms than anywhere else in the country (Discover Magazine)
This region, which stretches from Wyoming to Texas, not only has more hailstorms, but they’re also more severe because the air in the upper atmosphere is cold enough to keep the ice frozen.
The southwest and southeast US only experience hail once every three years, on average (Illinois State Water Survey)
The southwest is too hot and dry to support hail formation, while the southeast has the moisture but not the chill.
Texas had the highest number of hail events in 2022, with 458 (NOAA Annual Severe Weather Report Summary)
This area’s climate creates the perfect storm for hail formation due to warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico colliding with cool, dry air from the Midwest over Texas.
The official terminology for hail size ranges from 0.25 inches to 4 inches (National Weather Surface)
The size of a hailstone correlates to everyday objects, from the quarter-inch pea to the 4-inch grapefruit.
A new category– called “gargantuan hail”– has been proposed for stones over 6 inches (American Meteorological Society)
As more instances of hailstones greater than 4 inches fall, researchers believe it’s time to add a new category to the scale to account for the full range of observable sizes.
The largest hailstone ever recorded in the US hit Vivian, South Dakota, in 2010 (National Weather Service)
The stone, which left a 10-inch impact pit when it fell on July 10, 2010, had an 8-inch diameter and weighed nearly two pounds.
A supercell over Argentina in 2018 produced a hailstone 9.3 inches across (CNN)
The massive stone inspired scientists to suggest the term “gargantuan” for hail greater than 6 inches long.
The most significant recorded hail accumulation in US history was 18 inches in 1959 (Global Weather & Climate Center)
On June 23, 1959, Seldon, Kansas, was rocked by a massive hailstorm that fell for 85 minutes, during which the temperature dropped from 80° F to 35° F.
There have only been eight hail-related deaths in the United States since 1942 (Illinois State Water Survey)
The last reported death occurred in 2000, when a 19-year-old Fort Worth, Texas, man was struck by a softball-sized stone.
The deadliest hailstorm in US records occurred in South Carolina in 1784 (Stacker)
During a massive hailstorm on June 23, eight people and countless farm animals died after being struck by large stones.
The most fatal hailstorm in the world killed 246 people in India in 1888 (World Meteorological Organization)
The deadly storm hit Moradabad, India, and dropped hailstones the size of oranges. In addition to the loss of life, thousands more were injured.
Hail causes an estimated $8-14 billion in damage each year (Yale Climate Connections)
In a single year, hail causes approximately the same dollar amount of damage as tornados in the entire decade spanning 2010-2020.
The costliest hailstorm occurred on April 10, 2001, causing $2.5 billion in damage to eastern Kansas, southwestern Illinois, and the St. Louis Area (Weather Underground)
The primary supercell was 245 miles long and nearly 22 miles wide, while two smaller supercells on either end of the primary cell brought the total swath to a whopping 325 miles long.
The number of hail claims increased by almost 45,000 between 2021 and 2022 (Fox 23 News)
Most scientists attribute the increase in hail storm frequency and intensity to climate change, including a warmer atmosphere that holds onto moisture better than cooler air.
Each year from 2008-2018 cost at least $10 billion in insured damage in the United States (Weather Underground)
That adds up to more than four times the insured damage caused by hailstorms in the 1980s.
A Colorado hailstorm in 2017 caused $2.3 billion in property and auto damage (AccuWeather)
After a cold front moved in on Denver on a warm May day in 2017, the sudden and significant updrafts caused a series of severe thunderstorms in the morning, followed by golfball-sized hail into the afternoon.
Hail caused $596.8 million in crop damage from 2014-2018 (University of Colorado Boulder)
The country’s “Bread Basket” is also prone to hail storm events, destroying 1-2% of total crop values annually.
Damage to corn crops alone totals $52 million per year (Purdue University)
The time of year is a significant factor in how much of the crop is destroyed. Young corn that hasn’t yet developed tassels has a better survival rate than fully matured plants.
Minnesota had the most hail loss claims in 2022, followed by Texas and Arkansas (WAND News)
The top ten list is rounded out by Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
These hail damage statistics are a startling reminder of the importance of catastrophic event insurance.
With such massive damage rates, you’ll want to be well-protected if your home or automobile is caught in the storm.