Residents of the southern Great Plains can expect damaging hail of at least one inch in diameter every three to five years on average, according to the Institute for Business & Home Safety. Although hailstorms generally are not a great threat to human life, the extensive damage that they cause to automobiles, crops, roofs, and other structures carries a multi-billion dollar price tag. A large part of this expense results from damage to residential roofs and their appurtenances.

A major hailstorm that pelted more than 200 miles of Texas in 2003 has provided researchers with a real-world laboratory for assessing roofing products and impact protection. Insurers paid approximately $885 million following the storms, predominantly to cover repairs stemming from hail damage.

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