Hail damage during a chase: it's not controversial

Discussion in 'Introductory weather & chasing' started by Dan Robinson, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
    Staff Member

    Jan 14, 2011
    Likes Received:
    I became aware of a chaser's recent grilling on social media for breaking a windshield in baseball-sized hail, after making a report of it, no less.

    I have to say, what's up with that? Hail damage is one of the most uncontroversial storm chasing phenomenons ever. Nearly every long-time chaser has had at least one window loss, and dents are so common they are part of the quintessential chase vehicle that has seen any real action. When you get in the vicinity of supercells on a regular basis (barring keeping yourself so far away that you're always in the nosebleed seats), you are going to have a hail risk. That can come from the storm you're on, new storms going up nearby, or encountering limited road options. Storms can lob rogue baseballs far to the east of the meso into what normally is a precip-free viewing position.

    Few chasers intentionally drive into baseballs or softballs. Windows are expensive to replace, and a break can end your chase and sideline you for the next day.

    My point is, hail happens. It's part of the game. It's out of line to lambast any chaser for getting a spider crack in their windshield, something that nearly everyone who's done this for more than a decade has had happen. I get a few new dents every season, and now use hail guards to limit the glass breakage risk. This has increased my safety factor: I now never have to worry about an escape route blocked by potential large hail.

    I'm not saying have a completely cavalier attitude toward large hail. A 100mph sideways softball barrage can be dangerous to vehicle occupants, and broken glass can be a hazard during repeated windshield hits. But those extreme events are rare. Most large hail poses a vehicle damage risk, and not much else. Auto glass is expensive, and anyone who doesn't prepare for damage (either financially or with hail guards) will find this out soon enough. As long as you're not claiming hail damage on your insurance all the time, a broken window hurts no one.

    I'm all for a pro-safety attitude, but in my opinion, this one crosses the line into unreasonable criticism.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 2
    #1 Dan Robinson, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  2. kevin-palmer

    Jan 10, 2014
    Likes Received:
    I was on that same storm. After seeing the baseball hail report I knew I wanted to stay well south of the core. But new cells popped up behind me as the line filled in. With no phone signal at the time it was impossible to know how big the hail would be and there was nowhere to go anyway. It was the first time I’ve felt like a hail encounter was unavoidable. Thankfully the gust front and hail didn’t arrive simultaneously. I imagine the 1.5” hailstones would have caused a lot more damage than just a few dents if it was wind-driven.

    Sent from my iPhone using Stormtrack
  3. Paul Knightley

    Feb 6, 2006
    Likes Received:
    The sad fact is that 'social' media is, invariably, a place for trolls to get their kicks by calling out people on just about anything. Almost any subject seems to attract it too! There are 2 options: Don't worry about it; don't go on social media. Most of us enjoy reading others' reports, etc, so option 2 seems unlikely to curry much favour, so go with 1! Of course, healthy debate is fine, but as this case shows, sometimes it's not worth worrying about.

Share This Page