AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Severe weather season is right around the corner and this means we need to prepare for all the damages that come with the season as hail is one of the most expensive severe storm hazards in Texas.
In the United States each year, there are billions of dollars in residential and agricultural losses due to hail damage.
“Basically our thunderstorms are very cold to begin with. When you think about our atmosphere, we first of all live up here on a plateau at 3,600 feet above sea level, and the air gets colder the higher you go up to the sky,” said KAMR Local Four’s Chief Meteorologist John Harris. “If the thunderstorms are developing around 5,000 to 10,000 feet above us, it gets colder and colder. The majority of the thunderstorms are well below freezing. So it’s not rain falling from the clouds, it’s typically going to be ice particles.”
During a storm, hail can damage vehicles and homes. If found in this situation, what steps should one take?
“For an automobile first thing you need to do is call your insurance agent or the company you can turn your claim in either place, and wait to hear from an adjuster,” said JTS Insurance Agency Owner Tammy Jones. “On a house, you need to first call your agent or your insurance company and turn in a claim and get the process started. And then once that process is started, you can take action… to stop further damage from the house.”
Hail is one of the damaging types of precipitation that we see in the High Plains as Harris explained: “You’re talking about pounds of ice hitting the ground. If you have golf ball sized hail, it typically is going to impact the ground upwards of 60 miles per hour. If you have baseball sized hail, we’re talking hitting the ground at 90 miles per hour.”
In regards to how quickly in which you need to file a claim, different companies have different policies.
“For the most part, you need to turn it in just as soon as you possibly can and get that process started. I have one company that you have actually 365 days to have your roof actually repaired after a claim from the actual hail damage date,” said Jones.
Even when you are in despair after having damaged property, Jones recommended to those impacted to be cautious of where to get help after hail storms.
“A lot of times companies from out of town will come in and they they’ll come by your house, knock on the door and want to repair your roof…and get you to sign a contract,” said Jones. “I don’t recommend you ever sign a contract with anybody until you’ve actually met with an… adjuster and let that adjuster let tell you what damages are before you ever hire a company to come in and fix your roof.”
Even the smallest hail can do damage, therefore, having insurance can help keep you protected from unexpected property damage. Unfortunately, the majority of thunderstorms will always have hail, even thunderstorms that are not severe.
Harris added, “There still will probably be some dime to nickel-sized hail coming out of the sails because of the process that starts our thunderstorms.”
A good homeowner’s checklist to go by to prepare for hail storms for this severe weather season included the following:
- Keep an eye on the forecast;
- Bring in outdoor/patio furniture;
- Cover or bring plants indoors;
- Trim off excess branches;
- Charge flashlights (in case of damaged power lines).
If you have elderly neighbors, it’s a great idea to check on them. Jones said, “See if they have any broken windows or anything that they can’t fix themselves…help them out and just check on them after a major storm.”
For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.