In-Depth: 2021 already a significant year for hail damage

Weather Blog

Photos from Nicole Austin and Karen Robinson show just some of the damage caused by large hail when storms rolled through the area Thursday.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — March and April have already yielded significant hail storms this year, which insurance companies have called “catastrophic.” Insurance companies say they consider a hailstorm catastrophic if they get more than 500 claims.

By that definition, at least two hailstorms in Central Texas this year have already been catastrophic, and more hail is expected Friday afternoon. A third hailstorm also took place in Llano with very large hail stones.

March 25 brings golf ball-sized hail on terrible day for hail historically

Back in March, the Austin area was hit with a hail storm that resulted in damage to thousands of cars with tens of millions of dollars worth of damage.

A fast-moving storm brought plenty of quarter-, nickel-, and dime-sized hail, and there were reports of golf ball-sized hail, as well.

A 65 mph updraft wind speed is needed to form golf ball-sized hail.

March 25 is a significant day historically for hail storms. Even before this year’s storm, three of the costliest, most damaging hail storms in the city’s history took place on March 25 — in 1993, 2005 and 2009. Adding in 2021, and that’s four of the city’s worst storms all on the same day.

April 12 hailstorm pounds Llano

Two-inch hail stones fell in Llano County on April 12. Some of the hail was as big as pool balls at two inches in diameter.

People reported damage to their homes and cars with broken windows. A look at the hail stones hitting the swimming pool below give a good look at just how hard the hail stones were falling.

Mason Lambert sent us a photo later of his hail-damaged truck with huge dents on the hood and roof plus a shattered windshield.

  • Damage to car after hailstorm on April, 12, 2021 in Llano County (Photo: Mason Lambert)
  • Damage to car after hailstorm on April, 12, 2021 in Llano County (Photo: Mason Lambert)
  • Hail in Llano County on April 12, 2021 - from Melissa Cunningham
  • Golf ball-sized hail in Llano County on April 12, 2021 (Photo: Ron Cunningham)
  • Giant hail in Llano County on April 12, 2021 (Photo: Celia Johnson Griffin)
  • Hail in Llano County on April 12, 2021 - from Belinda Morgan

April 15 hailstorm punches holes in cars across Travis, Williamson counties

Arguably the worst hailstorm so far of 2021 occurred a few days after Llano got hit. On April 15, Leander, north Austin, Pflugerville, Round Rock, and Georgetown all saw significant damage.

Tim McCoy sent us video of giant hailstones pounding his Leander swimming pool.

Many other viewers also sent us photo of the size of the hail and a look at their damaged cars. Karen Robinson sent us a picture of her car which had at least 14 holes in the back windshield where hail punched through the glass.

  • Karen Robinson, Hesters Crossing
  • Car damage hail, April 15, 2021
  • Hail covering a deck in Elgin, Texas on April 15, 2021 (Courtesy: Tomea Walker)
  • Golf ball-sized hail in Leander April 15, 2021 (Courtesy Mrandon Morey)
  • Hail in Leander April 15, 2021 - Mike Dickey
  • Hail in Round Rock April 15, 2021 - Williams Perez
  • Hail in Round Rock April 15, 2021 - Melissa Adcock
  • Hail in Round Rock April 15, 2021 - Susan Mayes
  • Hail in Round Rock - Joanne Douglas
  • Hail between Bertram and Liberty Hill April 15, 2021 (Courtesy Paul Hickman)
  • Nearly tennis ball-sized hail in Round Rock (Courtesy Greg Gotham)
  • Hail between Holda and Doss in southern Mason County on April 15, 2021 (Courtesy: John Spencer)

Insurance claims mounting from storms with more hail expected

Auto body shops remain busy following all these hailstorms, and it remains difficult and expensive to find a rental car in the Austin area.

“It’s just been one phone call after the next,” Stephen Brast, owner of Stephen’s Paintless Dent Repair in Georgetown, told KXAN on April 16.

“A week to get it through the insurance company and then another week to fix it, typically,” Brast said. “The wait time is always going to get longer.”

At the time, State Farm spokesperson Chris Pilcic said it was a little too early to know the full impact of the hailstorms, but last year, the average homeowner hail claim in Texas was $11,700, and the average car hail claim was more than $4,400.

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