The tornado that destroyed a large swath of Washington, IL, on November 17, 2013, was a stark reminder to all Central Illinois residents of how powerful storms can change lives in a moment’s notice. Though the Bloomington-Normal, IL, area escaped the smaller town’s fate, it still suffered extensive hail damage as pellets of frozen rain measuring as large as four inches in diameter, or the size of a softball, pelted the community. Bloomington-Normal also required tree damage repair as high winds wreaked havoc across the city.
In terms of the amount of harm caused, the horrific tornado in Washington may have been a fairly uncommon event. Hail damage is not. Hail causes $1 billion in lost property and crops each year. In 2014, Illinois reported the second highest number of hail damage claims in the country. There are things you can do, however, to limit the damage hail can cause to you and your property. Here are some safety tips from the National Weather Service:
- Keep away from windows. Hail can smash through the glass, injuring you and anyone else nearby.
- Move your vehicle to a garage or other shelter. If you are driving, pull into a gas station. The longer that you drive in a hailstorm the more damage you are likely to do to your vehicle.
- Get inside and bring your pets with you. If you get caught outside in a hailstorm, flee indoors as soon as possible. If you are stuck outside, at least protect your head, which is the part of your body most vulnerable to a serious injury. Just imagine what softball-size hail could do to you or a loved one.
Hail and tree damage often go hand-in-hand. Heavy winds frequently accompany hailstorms and bring gusts strong enough to knock down trees and utility poles. Be wary of these storms; these weather conditions may mean a tornado is on its way.
Menold Construction and Restoration is located in Morton, Normal, Champaign, Illinois, and has been servicing Central Illinois for more than 35 years.