Experts Gather in Boulder to Discuss a Future with Increasingly Severe Hail

“Hail is becoming an increasingly costly problem in the United States.” — Andrew Heymsfield, NCAR.

(photo credit: Hannah Leigh Myers, hail in Broomfield from a June 2018 storm)

From August 14-16 members of the scientific and business community gather in Boulder for the first North American Workshop on Hail and Hail Storms.  Organizers of the 3 day conference say that hailstorms are responsible for over $10 billion dollars in annual property damage in North America.  A recent hail storm in Colorado Springs killed animals at the Cheyenne Mountain zoo and hail has destroyed crops and damaged property throughout Colorado this summer. Car and home insurance claims from a hailstorm that pummeled the northern Front Range in 2017 were close to $2.3 billion.  More buildings and a growing population in Colorado’s Front Range are also factors in the increasing costs of hail storms.

Andrew Heymsfield, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and one of the organizers of the event, says that we will continue to experience more extreme hailstorms in the US.  “The general belief is that hail intensity will be increasing, even though the number of hail storms might not, but hail intensity is likely to increase.”

One of the sessions in the 3 day workshop will look at the connection between climate change, a warming atmosphere and hail. Heymsfield says that hail will likely be more of a factor in climate change conversations. “One of the sessions we have is on convection and hail in a changing climate, so we’ll see then what kind of discussions there are and where this goes from there.”

Listen to an extended interview with Andrew Heymsfield: