As the Northeast welcomes Spring 2016 with a snow storm, many in other parts of the country are facing hail, high winds and flooding between March and May.
According to new data from the Farmers Insurance Seasonal Smarts Digest, residents of certain states are most at risk for damage from spring weather hazards.
Farmers Insurance analyzed customer claims data from 2013 through 2015 to uncover which states face an increased risk of major spring hazards.
If your home or business is in one of these states, you should contact your insurance agent or broker to be sure that you have the right coverage:
Hail — which can reach the size of softballs — can cause a lot of damage to a home. (Photo: iStock)
Of all related Homeowner's insurance claims, 39% occur from March to May.
According to Farmers, hail causes about $1 billion of damage annually to property and crops. In 2014 alone there were 5,536 major hail storms, 1,206 of which occurred in May.
As the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory explains, hail forms when updrafts in thunderstorms carry drops of rain into colder areas of the atmosphere — 32 degrees F and colder — where they freeze into balls of ice ranging in size from pea-sized granules to softballs.
Hail falls as a form of precipitation when the updraft can no longer support the weight of the growing hailstones.
These are the top states at risk for hail damage:
- Nebraska: 78%.
- Montana: 74%.
- Kansas: 59%.
- Oklahoma: 55%.
- Missouri: 50%.
A storm that produces high winds can cause more widespread damage than a tornado. (Photo: iStock)
Nearly one-third — 31% — of all homeowner claims related to wind damage occur during the spring months. Farmers’ data also shows that spring storms are responsible for a 59% increase in wind-related claims over the winter months.
Although property owners are most concerned with tornado damage, according to the NSSL, straight-line winds, as well as other types of winds, can potentially cause damage and typically produce more widespread damage than tornadoes.
Damaging winds are those classified as in excess of 50 mph to 60 mph. People who live in areas prone to severe thunderstorms are most at risk for damaging winds that can exceed 100 mph.
These are the top states at risk for wind damage:
- Wyoming: 40%.
- Alabama: 40%.
- Louisiana: 37%.
- Tennessee: 33%.
- Kentucky: 30%.
Heavy rains can overwhelm gutters, causing water to run down interior walls. (Photo: iStock)
Farmers found that 29% of home claims were due to rainy, wet spring weather. The data also showed an increase of 19% in wet weather-related claims in 2015 over the same three-month time period in 2014, and a 59% increase over 2013’s wet weather claims during the spring.
The Farmers report explains that sometimes, events that occur outside can cause powerful damage to a home or its contents. For example, a heavy spring rain storm may overwhelm the exterior roof gutter system, causing water to pour down interior walls. Or, a tornado may roll through and leave the home largely intact, but shatter windows and allow for the accompanying rain to pour in and destroy the carpet and other valued possessions.
Spring is also the time of year when large amounts of leftover winter ice melt and, when combined with a heavy downpour or extended rain, can cause tremendous flooding. Any one or a combination of these events can cause extensive damage.
These are the top states at risk for damage from wet weather:
- New Hampshire.
- New York.
Editor’s Note: Specific percentages for damages from wet weather were not provided.
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