Does Early Storm Data Herald a Harrowing Hail Season Ahead?

The frequency of hailstorms soared in early 2024, well before the official start of hail season, federal data shows.

Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content
  • 10+ years in insurance and personal finance content

  • 30+ years in media, PR, and content creation

Evelyn leads Insurify’s content team. She’s passionate about creating empowering content to help people transform their financial lives and make sound insurance-buying decisions.

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Chris Schafer
Edited byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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MacKenzie Korris
Reviewed byMacKenzie Korris
MacKenzie Korris
MacKenzie KorrisInsurance Copy Editor

MacKenzie Korris is an insurance copy editor with years of experience in print and digital media. He strives to craft actionable, inclusive copy that fosters smart decision-making through reader autonomy. He has a journalism degree from Saint Louis University.

Published June 19, 2024 at 5:00 PM PDT | Reading time: 3 minutes

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If severe weather events are as persistent through the summer as they were the first few months of the year, the 2024 U.S. hail season may be well on its way to breaking records — not to mention windshields and windows.

Hailstorm activity increased nearly 74% year over year in the first two months of 2024, according to the latest data available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In January and February, Texas saw hailstorms increase by 720% compared to the same period in 2023. South Carolina recorded a single hailstorm in the first two months of last year. During the same time frame this year, the state saw 28 hailstorms — a year-over-year-increase of 2,700%.

Keep in mind that the NOAA’s most recent data doesn’t take into account the storms that pummeled Texas with torrential rain, high winds, and DVD-sized hailstones in May. And it omits the April storms that generated softball-sized hail in South Carolina and prompted the state’s governor to ask for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“It has not been a quiet hail year,” Andrew Heymsfield, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, recently told the Washington Post.

States hit hard by early hailstorms

Comparing hailstorm activity in the first two months of 2023 to the first two months of this year shows a marked increase in hailstorms — and damages.

In January and February of 2023, 234 hail events affected 19 states and caused about $729,000 in property damage, NOAA data shows. During the same months in 2024, NOAA recorded 407 events — a 73.93% increase — across 20 states. NOAA estimates $3.116 million in property damage from those storms.

In all, 15 states experienced more hail in the beginning of 2024 than the year before. Texas and Illinois tied for the most storms in the two-month period, with 82 each. For the same months in 2023, Oklahoma was the leader, with 44 hailstorms reported.

Nationally, 2024 is shaping up to rank among the top-five costliest years for storm damage, based on Insurify’s analysis of NOAA data. Data for Texas indicates the state will likely see storm damages that will equal or exceed 2023’s costs.

Hail-producing storms are heating up

NOAA data and numerous news accounts indicate that hailstorms aren’t just becoming more frequent — they’re becoming more damaging, with increasingly larger hailstones.

Hail forms when strong updrafts in a thunderstorm keep ice crystals aloft, allowing them to grow larger before falling to the ground. Warmer temperatures create stronger updrafts that can keep larger crystals airborne — and growing — for longer. As global warming continues, hailstones will likely get larger, weather experts predict.


The largest hail recorded in the early part of 2023 was three and a half inches. In January and February of this year, the largest hail was four inches.

And numerous news accounts point to hailstones larger than five inches in Texas during May’s storms.

How hailstorms hit home insurance

Hail season typically lasts from April through September, although the actual duration can vary based on location and other factors.

Every year, Americans file approximately 500,000 claims for hail damage to property, according to Cape Analytics.

Forty years ago, annual insurer losses for hail claims averaged just over $1 billion, the analytics company said. Today, a single hailstorm can cause billions in damages over multiple states. State Farm, the largest U.S. home insurer by market share, reported $3.5 billion in hail claim costs in 2022, a $1 billion increase from the year before. The average hail claim increased by $2,000, the insurer said.

Industry losses hit $60 billion in 2023 from severe convective storms that generated hail, heavy rain, lightning, high winds, and tornadoes, The New York Times reported. In 2022, the industry experienced $31 billion in losses from convective storms.

What’s next?

If this pattern of increases continues, the nation could see 7,307 total hailstorms in 2024, a 5% increase over 2023, Insurify data analysts project. And more hailstorms will result in more home insurance claims for hail damage — bad news for home insurers just starting to recover from last year’s storm season losses.

Homeowners can take steps to minimize hail damage to their properties, including:

  • Inspecting roofs to identify any weak spots and repair them before hail season

  • Parking vehicles in garages or under carports when possible

  • Protect exposed vehicles with a car cover

  • Parking vehicles away from trees to reduce the risk of damage from a fallen branch

  • Installing shutters on your home and closing them before a storm to protect windows from hailstones

Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content

Evelyn Pimplaskar is Insurify’s director of content. With 30-plus years in content creation – including 10 years specializing in personal finance – Evelyn’s done everything from covering volatile local elections as a beat reporter to building fintech content libraries from the ground up.

Before joining Insurify, she was editor-in-chief at Credible, where she launched and developed the lending marketplace’s media partnership’s content initiative and managed the restructuring of the editorial team to enhance content production efficiency. Formerly, as tax editor for Credit Karma, Evelyn built a library of more than 300 educational articles on federal and state taxes, achieving triple-digit year-over-year growth in e-files from organic search.

Her early career included work as a content marketer, vice president and managing officer of a boutique public relations agency, chief copy editor for 14 weekly Forbes publications, reporting for large and mid-sized daily newspapers, and freelancing for the Associated Press.

Evelyn is passionate about creating personal finance content that distills complex topics into relatable, easy-to-understand stories. She believes great content helps empower readers with the information they need to make important personal finance decisions.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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MacKenzie Korris
Reviewed byMacKenzie KorrisInsurance Copy Editor
MacKenzie Korris
MacKenzie KorrisInsurance Copy Editor

MacKenzie Korris is an insurance copy editor with years of experience in print and digital media. He strives to craft actionable, inclusive copy that fosters smart decision-making through reader autonomy. He has a journalism degree from Saint Louis University.