Hail is a type of solid rain made up of balls or lumps of ice. Storms that produce hail which reaches the ground are known as hailstorms. They typically last for no more than 15 minutes but can cause injuries to people and damage buildings, vehicles and crops. When hail builds up it can cause a loss of power, bring down trees and cause flash floods and mudslides in steep areas. Hailstorms can sometimes be accompanied by other severe weather events, such as cyclones and tornadoes. On rare occasions, massive hailstones have been known to cause concussions and fatal head injuries.
Do you know to prepare for a hailstorm?
Monitor weather forecasts and watch for indicators of dangerous weather. Identify the safest places in your building, located away from exterior walls. Outside, you are safest in covered areas away from steep sloping terrain or waterways.
Protect buildings and vehicles: keep gutters and pipes clear and repair damage as soon as it is safe to do so. Install storm shutters and park vehicles in sheltered areas. Protect your livestock and pets by providing covered shelter.
Be prepared to respond to severe weather warnings or conditions. If you are outdoors, seek shelter but avoid natural lightning rods such as tall trees, hilltops and open fields. If you are indoors stay away from windows and if you are in a vehicle, remain inside. Stay calm by counting or taking slow, deep breaths. Look out for secondary risks such as landslides or debris, particularly in mountainous areas.