A Colorado vehicle’s greatest enemy, hail. Call us melodramatic here at Rocky Mountain Dent Services, but we’ve seen the aftermath of a storm to know that hail is a true threat for vehicles and the owners wanting to restore them back to dent-free condition. If the balls of hail are big enough, vehicles simply are not strong enough to withstand the beating they often take.
What is Hail?
Let’s take one step back and make sure that we’re all on the same page. Most people probably already know what hail is and the car dents it can create, but just in case here’s a quick explanation. Hail is basically frozen rain that can range from small pellets to large balls of ice, golf ball size and up.
How is Hail Made?
Water condenses and freezes around specks of dust or something similar high up in the atmosphere. The one little drop of water with which it starts begins colliding with other drops of water and freezing them on contact, thus growing larger.
Thunderstorms have strong updrafts that can either maintain a piece of hail in relatively the same spot or cause it to travel up and down within the cloud. Regardless of which method forms the hailstone, once it gets so heavy that the storm can no longer maintain it up in the sky, it falls to earth. With strong updrafts, hail can grow to a surprisingly large size before hurtling down towards earth to strike anything in its path and put hail dents in your vehicle.
How Fast Does Hail Fall?
It is difficult to determine the rate at which hail falls. It can never reach terminal velocity because it is constantly bumping into other hailstones and raindrops, and the wind, friction, and melting all have an effect. Plus, terminal velocity is calculated based on a perfect sphere, but a hailstone is highly irregular!
Where Does It Hail the Most?
In the United States, there is an area known as “hail alley” where the three states Nebraska, Wyoming and, of course, Colorado come together. We are the lucky recipients of between 7 and 9 good hailstorms every year. Hail is also frequently seen in northern Italy, parts of Russia, China, and India.
How Big Does Hail Get?
Generally, hail ranges from pea-sized to marble-sized (about ¼ inch to ½ inch). This type of hail is not too dangerous and causes repairable hail damage. However, hail in our area can easily start getting over an inch in diameter, which is usually when it starts causing damage, and can get up to around 4 ½ inches in diameter. Hail that large is obviously quite serious and is extremely dangerous to people (and of course cars).
So now you’ve gotten to know a Colorado vehicle’s greatest enemy, hail. If hail is in the forecast, try to get your vehicle to a covered space as quickly as possible. But, if you do get stuck out in a storm, know that Rocky Mountain Dent Services has a paintless dent repair option that is both economical and efficient at restoring your vehicle to its previous condition. Call us today for more information!