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Supercell Storms and Hail Damage in Florida

According to a recent article in the Palm Beach Post, meteorologists identified supercell storms in the middle of last month that were likely to produce significant hail storm damage across the state of Florida. Indeed, the article suggested that golf-ball-sized hail could be possible due to the combination of weather factors within the storm system. In short, "a clash of icy cloud tops and moist tropical air" is a common precursor to "powerful supercell thunderstorms" that can result in serious damage to property. While this storm system ultimately weakened just in time-such that Floridians were spared much of the predicted hail damage-the possibility of other such supercell thunderstorms should put residents of South Florida on alert.

What else should you know about the link between supercell thunderstorms and hail storm damage?

Learning More About Supercell Thunderstorms

Even if you have lived in Florida for your entire life, you might not have heard of a supercell thunderstorm. Although they occur with some frequency, their severity tends to be overlooked given the dangers of hurricanes in the summer and fall months. What are supercell thunderstorms? According to the article, they are "characterized by a strong rotating column of air that works to suck warm moist air up into the subfreezing atmosphere."

According to an article from the National Weather Service Forecast Office, supercell thunderstorms can produce substantial damage not only because of lightning and hail. Because of their makeup, the winds from these storms often reach speeds of more than 100 miles per hour and can "persist for many hours," and also "are responsible for nearly all of the significant tornadoes produced in the U.S." These storms also tend to be associated with "extreme winds and flash flooding," according to the National Weather Service. Supercells can also be devastating because of their ability to "split in two," according to the Palm Beach Post article. When these storms split, they quicken and can produce paths of damage in multiple directions.

Hail Damage from Supercell Thunderstorms

Almost all supercell thunderstorms are "capable of producing hail"-a fact that simply is not true of many other types of thunderstorms. How can weather experts predict the severity of hail storm damage when they know of a supercell thunderstorm? In short, the strength of the updraft in the storm is often what determines the size of the hail that a storm produces. The stronger the updraft, the larger the sizes of hail are likely to be. As the article clarifies, "stronger updrafts can suspend frozen water droplets longer, allowing them to grow."

As the Palm Beach Post article highlights, hail actually starts its existence as a frozen raindrop. Because of the updraft in a thunderstorm, it does not fall to the ground immediately. Instead, it remains within the storm and, slowly, super- cooled drops begin to freeze to it. As such, a lot of hail actually grows in layers. Then, when it is too heavy to remain in the updraft (or if the updraft grows weaker), then the hail will fall to the ground. In some situations, very large pieces of hail can become smaller if melting occurs on the way down.

Do you have questions about filing a hail storm damage claim? An experienced Florida hail storm lawyer can help. Contact the Wells Law Group, P.A. today to discuss your claim. 

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