According to NOAA’s National Weather Service Forecast Office, hail storms cause on average $1 billion of damage to property and crops in the United States each year. Furthermore, much of this hail damage is concentrated in the Great Plains states. In this region, sometimes called hail alley, hail storms occur much more frequently than in other areas and constitute the most costly weather events in the country when added to together. St. Louis Missouri falls within this active hail storm area. In fact, it is almost at the center of the highest activity of hail storms. St. Louis has an average of nine hail storms a year. Within one hundred miles west of St. Louis is the zone where the highest concentration of hail storrms occur in the United States.
While tornado alley may be more famous, more damage occurs in hail alley. The damage is also more geographically extensive on average than the damage typically caused by tornados. Hail storms in hail alley are more common in the months of March through October. Damaging hail storms occur most frequently in the afternoon and early evening. They can arise without any warning and cause extensive damage in less than a minute. There is no time for the owner of a car to get their car out of the zone of the hail storm. In fact, some hail storms have a swath of damage that cover one hundred miles! In other words, the damage caused by a hail storm can potentially affect entire communities, even entire regions.
Hailstones range in size from five to two hundred millimeters in diameter. This is a range of one-fifth an inch to almost eight inches in diameter. Hailstones that are larger than twenty millimeters (about three-quarters of an inch) can cause significant damage. Hailstones are solid pieces of ice that form in the upper atmosphere where the air temperature is below freezing. Hail is not freezing rain like sleet. Hail forms as balls of ice in the upper atmosphere and then falls to earth. It doesn’t come down as liquid water and then turn to ice. By the time hail hits the ground or a vehicle parked on the ground, the speed can be very fast. This is why a single pea sized hailstone can cause a very significant dent in the body of a vehicle. When you have multiple hailstones in a hailstorm hitting your vehicle, the damage can be extensive.
On April 28 2012, hailstones the size of golf balls, baseballs, and even softballs hit the mid-west region of the United States. St. Louis was struck particular hard by this wave of successive hailstorms. These hail storms were in association with tornados in the area. The hail came down so hard and so densely that entire car windshields were banged out. The hail bashed in other car windows and battered the outer body of vehicles, headlights, etc. According to the Insurance Journal, more than 100,000 insurance claims were filed in the St. Louis area as a result this storm’s damage. It is estimated that there was $1.6 billion dollars in damage, the second most costly hail storm in U.S. history. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that one local auto glass place was getting two to three hundred calls a day for people looking for replacement glass for their vehicles. They ran out of auto glass in fact. Auto insurance companies were also bombarded with claims.
Going back a little further in time to April 10 2001, St. Louis experienced the most costly hail storm in U.S. history. It is estimated that there was more than $2 billion dollars in damage, including damage to cars and trucks ranging from minor abrasions to severe damage. So to recap, St. Louis has been at the center of the two most costly hail storms in U.S. history! If you anywhere near St. Louis, there is a good chance that you will experience hail damage to your vehicle at some point, especially if your vehicle is not stored in a garage.
American Dent Removal has been repairing Hail Damaged vehicles for well over a decade and have taken on some of the most extreme cases. With our training and experience we can handle all Hail Damage needs as well as Dents, Door Dings, Creases and even large dents. Please contact us for a free estimate and allow us the opportunity to serve you for all your Paintless Dent Removal needs. We welcome the opportunity to show you that we truly are “Americas leaders in the art of Paintless Dent Repair”.