Hailstorms Can Strike Without Warning

Would You Know How to Respond?

Hail storms can strike with little warning and produce hailstones as big as softballs. Falling at speeds of 20 to 100 miles an hour, hail of various sizes can dent cars, damage buildings, and injure people.

While hail may accompany strong thunderstorms, it’s hard to predict exactly where hail will strike. As a ministry leader, it’s important to know how to protect yourself and the people in your care. Let’s say hail begins falling while you’re driving a van load of students to a retreat center an hour away. Or you’re helping campers enjoy an excursion outdoors when a strong thunderstorm suddenly forms. How would you respond? Could you keep everyone safe?

Consider following these tips from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

If you are in an automobile…

  • Stop driving. If you see a safe place close by (like inside a garage, under a highway overpass or under a service station awning), drive to it as soon as you can. Make sure you pull completely off the highway.
  • Do NOT leave the vehicle until it stops hailing.
  • Stay away from car windows. Cover your eyes with something, like a piece of clothing. If possible, get onto the floor facedown or lie down on the seat with your back to the windows.
  • Put very small children under you and cover their eyes.

If you are in a building…

  • Stay inside until the hail stops.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Account for all family members, building occupants, pets, etc.
  • Do not go outside for any reason.
  • To avoid the danger of electrocution from lightning, avoid using phones and electrical appliances during a severe storm.

If you are outside…

  • Seek shelter immediately. If you can’t find something to protect your entire body, find something to protect your head.
  • Stay out of culverts and lowland areas that may suddenly fill with water.
  • Seeking shelter under trees should be a last resort. It is common during severe storms for trees to lose branches.

“Hail.” Weather.gov, National Weather Service, Peachtree City, Georgia. https://www.weather.gov/ffc/hail
"Thunderstorm Hazards - Hail." National Weather Service. https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/hail
“Know the Difference—How to React During a Hailstorm and Tornado.” IBHS.org, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. https://ibhs.org/wind/tornado-resources/