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Monday, June 18, 2012

Jeff Masters: Damages from 3-hour hailstorm in Dallas, TX, on June 13, 2012, may top $2 billion

Damages from 3-hour hailstorm in Dallas, TX, on June 13, 2012, may top $2 billion

by Dr. Jeff Masters, WunderBlog, June 18, 2012

Insured damage from a massive 3-hour hailstorm that pummeled Dallas, Texas, on Wednesday, June 13, may reach $2 billion, said the Southwestern Insurance Information Service (SIIS) on Friday. If true, this would be the 4th billion-dollar U.S. weather disaster of 2012. A cluster of 3 severe thunderstorms dropped hail the size of baseballs over a heavily populated area, damaging thousands of cars, puncturing skylights at a local mall, and shattering the expensive tile roofs of hundreds of homes. It was the second major hailstorm to hit the region this year; an April 3 event cost close to $500 million and damaged 110 airplanes at the DFW airport. You can see a radar image of the June 13 storm using our wundermap with the "go back in time" feature turned on.

Figure 1. Huge hail splashes into the waters of White Rock Lake in Dallas on June 13, 2012. Image credit:Wunderphotographer CinnamonDreams.

One of the most expensive hailstorms of all-time
The June 13 hailstorm will rank as one of the most expensive of all-time, according to statistics of billion-dollar disasters maintained by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and a list of damaging hail events maintained atWikipedia. Wikipedia lists only three hailstorms in U.S. history with damages exceeding $1 billion: 

(1) The April 10, 2001, St. Louis, Missouri, hailstorm. This costliest hailstorm in U.S. history, costing $2+ billion, struck the I-70 corridor of eastern Kansas, across Missouri, into southwestern Illinois.

(2) The May 5, 1995, Mayfest Storm in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. Severe thunderstorms produced hail the size of softballs, causing $1.1 billion in insured losses and total damage of $2 billion.

(3) The July 11, 1990 ,hailstorm in Colorado. Softball-sized hail destroyed roofs and cars, causing $625 million in total damage ($1.1 billion in damage adjusted to 2011 dollars).

Video 1. News coverage of the June 13, 2012,Damage hailstorm in Dallas, Texas, from local TV station News8. The aerial shots of a fog-shrouded golf course covered with ice are quite remarkable.

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