• Outdoors Outdoors

Meteorologists sound alarm as frequent hailstorms wreak havoc across US: 'They'll probably get a little more intense'

"The reality is these hailstorms not stopping."

"The reality is these hail storms not stopping."

Photo Credit: Val Castor

Huge hail has been making headlines this summer. A hailstone that fell in the Texas Panhandle may end up breaking the record for the largest ever to fall in the Lone Star State. Scientists are concerned about the damage that could come this year.

What's happening?

This has already been a very active year for hail in the United States, and we are only a third of the way through summer. As of late June, the Storm Prediction Center had more than 4,000 severe hail reports nationwide this year. 

When the Texas Panhandle was pounded by huge hail in early June, one of the hailstones measured 7.25 inches wide. This would crush the old record for Texas of 6.4 inches if the measurement is confirmed.

As the world's atmosphere warms, the updrafts in thunderstorms that hold hail aloft as it grows might become stronger. More robust upward motion means hail can grow larger before the weight of it becomes too heavy for the updraft to support it.

Heat-trapping gases warm the air, and warmer air can hold more moisture. The more significant the difference between the warm, moist air near the ground that fuels a thunderstorm and the colder, drier air above it, the more vigorous the thunderstorm and its upward-directed winds become that are required to grow hail.

Why is an increase in hailstorms so concerning?

As the United States population expands, more homes, businesses, vehicles, and structures will be susceptible to hailstorms

A study published in Nature concluded, "As a result of anthropogenic warming, it is generally anticipated that low-level moisture and convective instability will increase, raising hailstorm likelihood and enabling the formation of larger hailstones."

"When the bull's eye starts getting bigger, you're going to start hitting it more," said Victor Gensini, an associate professor at Northern Illinois University, per the Washington Post.

"The reality is these hailstorms not stopping — they'll probably get a little more intense, We're going to see more and more of these billion-dollar hailstorm disasters."

Five of the record 28 separate weather and climate disasters costing at least one billion dollars in 2023 were hailstorms. Texas alone was hit by two hailstorms, causing more than $1 billion in damage in both May and September last year. 

What's being done about larger and more frequent hail?

Cooling the atmosphere is the key to preventing severe storm development. We can all contribute to reducing the toxic pollution that is heating our planet. This summer, there are several changes we can all make to help, such as altering yard care practices, changing transportation habits, and adjusting electricity usage.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider