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Reading Hail Reports for Profit

November 08, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 179

Hail Reports are observation by citizens, law enforcement, and trained weather spotters of actual damage caused by large hail. These could include homes, farms, trailer parks, commercial real estate, vehicles, or any other property subject to weather damage.

After a storm passes, dozens of these reports are made to the local Weather Service office which, in turn, passes these on to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). There is very little delay in the process. In many cases, it only takes a few minutes from the time a report was made before it arrives at the SPC. The SPC then publishes this information daily on its website. By visiting their website, you can access hail reports free of charge.

Obtaining this information quickly is the key to being "first on the scene" to scout for repair opportunities. In fact, this is one of the very same resources Emergency Managers would use to respond to injuries after a storm.

Example Report

Now that you know where to find the damage reports, you need to understand exactly what you're looking at.

Here is a sample hail report:

0010, 175, 5 E Cedar Vale, Chautauqua, Ks, 3711, 9641, Hail was mostly dime to quarter size... but a few were up to golf ball Size. The hail occurred with 50 mph winds.

Hail reports consist of the following information:

Time of report (this is always in the local timezone).Size of hail, in inchesLocation of event, such as the intersection, county, and stateLatitude and LongitudeRemarks

The sample can be decoded:

12:10 AM75-inch5 miles east of Cedar Vale, Chautauqua county, Kansas11 degrees north, 96.41 degrees west(the last sentence are the observer's remarks)

Remarks aren't always included, but when they are they contain very useful information, as shown above. A lot of information cannot be contained in just a measurement and location.

Finding Opportunities

We have described how to read a hail report and where to find a free reference to them. But how do you know which reports are relevant for construction repair work you might be interested in?

Obviously, the larger the hail, the more damage. But how big is enough? The National Weather Service will issue a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for a county when 3/4-inch or larger hail has been detected or observed. 3/4-inch is large enough to cause injury, but probably won't do much damage. 1.25-inch hail is certainly large enough to cause roofing and siding damage. But an individual 1.25-inch hail report does not mean that every piece of hail was that size. Nor does it mean that hail fell long enough to cause real damage.

From our surveys of roofers and construction clients 1.75-inch or larger is the magic number. 1.75-inch hail means that a significant thunderstorm has passed through the area. It was sustained and widespread and most likely structures have been damaged. Especially if you find multiple reports of 1.75-inch hail in the same area, you can safely assume that damage occurred.

Rory Groves is a weather preparedness expert and developer of Live Hail Reports and Weather Defender, weather software designed to protect families and communities from severe weather.

Source: EzineArticles
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