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Flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires often steal the spotlight but beware of underestimating the fury of a hailstorm.

As the slideshow above of costly U.S. hailstorms illustrates, hail causes about $1 billion in damage to crops and property each year, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). And although hailstorms are rarely associated with fatalities, they are responsible for serious injuries and severe property and automobile damage — a fact that's especially pronounced in such hail-prone states as Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma.

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Elana Ashanti Jefferson

Elana Ashanti Jefferson serves as ALM's PropertyCasualty360 Group Chief Editor. She is a veteran journalist and communications professional. Reach her by sending an e-mail to [email protected].