NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Oklahomans know a thing or two about hail

EDMOND — Timing was everything for the latest from Farmers Insurance.

"Oklahoma ranked fifth among states for the highest percentage of homeowners claims tied to hail each spring, according to new data. Nationally, 48 percent of all hail claims seen by Farmers since 2013 happened between March and May."

Do tell?

Two days later, at my house in Edmond, down into north Oklahoma City and to parts east:

Whack. ... Whack. ... Whackity whack whack ... whack whack WHACK WHACK whackity whack WHACK WHACK WHACK WHACKITY WHACKITY WHACK WHACK WHACK (Lord, have mercy) whack whack WHACK WHACK whackity whack WHACK WHACK WHACK WHACKITY WHACKITY WHACK WHACK WHACK — for 10 or so minutes that seemed like longer.

You know that awful sound. It happens.

Maybe you know the disappointing juxposition of "still new truck smell" and "hail damage." That doesn't happen to everyone, but it got me this time. Dang it. Got the truck in November. It was pristine until sometime after 5 p.m. March 23.

I've experienced worse. This didn't even cover the bottom of the truck bed.

It was a more or less typical spring afternoon. My wife, Dolores, is better at this stuff. She summarized what we saw unfolding outside and on TV, as she kept me in the house and from running an errand.

"It was a series of supercells that popped up fast along a dry line just west of the metro, near U.S. Highway 81, went severe fast and almost instantly showed mid-level rotation. The really strong updrafts in the storm allowed for hail to grow numerous and large (the stronger the updraft, the higher hail can go and the longer it can stay up there where temps are freezing). Between El Reno and Piedmont, you could see the classic hook echo form on the radar.

"Storms are living, breathing things. The inflow into the storm was strong, as evidenced by the racing scud going into the storm. It had a classic rain-free base with a wall cloud that was dark and low to the ground. Normally, a super cell with the strong inflow like that, with a wall cloud and little rotating fingers coming down from that wall cloud, would drop a tornado."

Within minutes, the inflow turned to cold outflow, decreasing the chances for a tornado, but preserving the rotation and dropping the hail, which was in the forecast, not tornadoes, in the first place.

No doubt, roofers were coming out of the woodwork before dark. Roofing company signs — both legitimate and fly-by-night — pop up in hailed-on neighborhoods like dandelions after a spring rain. Would-be roofers flocked to Edmond City Hall, spokesman Casey Moore said.

"After last weekend’s hail storms, our city clerk’s office has been very busy issuing solicitation licenses to local businesses. It is also very common for Edmond neighborhoods to see an increase in solicitation during the spring months," Moore said.

Moore said any solicitor knocking on your door should be clearly displaying a current city of Edmond-issued ID badge on the front of their clothing. Soliciting in Edmond is permitted between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Spring has only just begun. If you moved here since spring 2017, and we have a typical storm season, you might feel sucker punched. Last year, we had little severe weather. Farmers said that 71 percent of all homeowners claims, on average, filed with Farmers in Oklahoma between March and May each year are due to hail. Last year, just 30 percent of claims were due to hail.

In any case, welcome, y'all. About all of us know a thing or two about hail because, as Farmers so memorably puts it, we've seen a thing or two.

Richard Mize

Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked... Read more ›

Comments