Hail Alley, Colorado Consistently Ranked on Top 10 List for Most Hail-Prone Areas
Where is Hail Alley? Right here!!
Hail Alley geographically sits east of the Rockies where Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming all meet. This area is subjected to some of the most frequent and damaging hail storms in the U.S. As a result of hail impact damage, the U.S. averages approximately $1 billion in annual hail damage to crops and property. That’s billion with a capital B! In extreme cases, single storms have caused over $1 Billion in damages. The historic Kansas City hail storm for example, on April 10, 2001 resulted in an estimated $2 billion in damage to crops and property alone!
Certain Colorado cities such as Aurora, Colorado Springs, and Denver are regularly ranked on the Top 10 Most Hail Prone Areas in the U.S.
Clickety-click on the link below to see how we stack up.
Hail forms in many shapes, sizes, and densities which all factor into the extent of resulting impact damage. I have personally seen “Soft” (not dense) 4-inch hail cause minimal damage to roof systems while “Hard” (extremely dense) 2-inch hail in another storm annihilated typical roofs. Further complicating things, different roofing materials, insulating materials, and different deterioration levels (of materials) all need to be taken into account before assuming a roof was or was not damaged simply due to the size of the hailstones. While some roofs may not appear to be damaged at first view if a roof shows collateral damage indicative of large dense hail, I will typically recommend roof cuts be taken and evaluated in our laboratory.
Lab analysis can consist of taking the layers of roofing apart mechanically or by use of solvent extraction for the purpose of analyses. Solvent extraction, also known as desaturation, is used to properly assess damage to asphalt-based roofing systems. Desaturation is a process by which the asphalt is removed from the reinforcement fabrics so that they can be adequately viewed. Reinforcements consist of fiberglass, polyester, or a combination of the two. Damage to these reinforcements directly affects the repairs, and therefore the costs associated with damage. Laboratory analysis via desaturation closely examines the reinforcements for damage that may not otherwise be seen from the surface.
Pie typically recommends roof cuts be taken on single-ply membranes where it is known that they have been struck by severe hail (1” or larger) or if there is other reason to believe there may be damage. Single-ply membranes can show signs of damage on the bottom side of the membrane before they are evident on the top side. These membranes can be examined with the naked eye or under microscope. Occasionally the membranes are stretched and examined on a light table to find hairline cracks. Without proper determination of damage, it is possible the damage will not appear in the form of leaks for several seasons due after exposure to thermal cycles.
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