Are there any instances of death by hail in the U.S.? If so, how often has it occured, and where? My guess would be that if such deaths did happen, the greatest chances of such fatalities would be in Tornado Alley or perhaps Florida.
According to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather, the deaths at Fort Collins and Lubbock were (in 1991) the only deaths authenticated by the NWS, but other fatalities occurred at Uvalde, TX, in 1909, Windsor, NC, in 1931, and 8 deaths along the Wateree River, SC, on May 8, 1784. It also mentions two fatalities in Canada.
If you think about it, it's amazing there haven't been more fatalities associated with hail. Softball sized hail ocurrs relatively often in the US. Hail of this size hitting you in the head would surely cause some serious damage if hit directly.
Originally posted by rdale \"Softball sized hail ocurrs relatively often in the US.\"
Yes, but a few things help out...
1) Softball sized hail never comes \"out of the blue\"
2) It doesn't cover a wide area
3) Most of it falls in relatively unpopulated regions
That, and not all hailstones are created equal. The density of the ice that makes up the hailstone can vary pretty drastically. A hailstone that is primarily of the 'soft hail' variety will likely cause considerably less 'damage' or injury potential than 'hard hail'. Freezing times, melting times, growth type, etc, all can affect the density the ice, and thus how "hard" the hail is...
Practically speaking, I experienced 'soft hail' in Attica on 5/12... Baseball, or perhaps a shade larger, hailstones were falling on my vehicle and windshield, though I escaped with only minor dents. When the hail hit the ground (or my windshield), it just smashed and looked like a snowcone was dropped. On the other hand, on 5/29 on the central OK supercell, near Thomas, we experienced hail a shade under baseball-sized that was literally bouncing off the ground and pavement. We were about 1 mile east of Thomas (we had just driven though Thomas) when we heard reports of baseball-sized hail busting out windows and windshields in the town... This would be a good case of 'hard' hail..