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One hail of a severe weather season so far

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Posted at 11:07 AM, Apr 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-16 11:11:47-04

In the first half of April, the U.S. has seen more severe weather than the first three months of the year put together.

Before this month began, severe weather had been nearly nonexistent. Tornado counts, hail and wind reports were all at record lows.

In the first week of April, the pattern changed. Severe thunderstorm or tornado watches have been issued nearly every day since then.

Numbers are still way down for the season, but things have seen a sharp uptick in the last couple weeks, especially hail.

Tornado counts have jumped to a little more than 100, but that's still less than a third of where they should be for mid-April.

The number of wind reports are just more than 700, less than halfway to the average.

Hail, on the other hand, has seen the most drastic change, approaching 900 counts of severe hail and just shy of the average — a little more than 1100.

Every severe weather season is different. Sometimes we see a lot of tornadoes or straight-line wind damage, but this year, hail is taking the spotlight with reports in 28 out of 50 states since the year began.

Tornadoes are more likely to make the headlines, but hail shouldn't be disregarded.

Hail causes about one billion dollars in damage to crops and property each year, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Most of the severe weather setups this year had all the ingredients necessary for large hail: plenty of moisture for hail to form, a low freezing level in the atmosphere  for quick, easy hail growth, and strong updrafts to promote continued hail growth.

Today is no different. The Storm Prediction Center has issued an enhanced risk for severe weather across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas this afternoon and evening.

One guess as to what they think is the biggest threat? 

Hail.

As the severe weather season continues to evolve and change, we may see more tornadoes and wind damage, but as of right now, hail seems to be the damage du jour.

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