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Researchers find pathway to give advanced notice for hailstorms

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A new study led by Northern Illinois University meteorologist Victor Gensini identifies a method for predicting the likelihood of damaging hailstorms in the United States—up to three weeks in advance.

Hail is easily the most economically destructive hazard posed by severe thunderstorms, producing on average billions of dollars in U.S. losses each year, including damage to roofs, homes and especially crops.

“We found a really strong relationship between jet stream patterns over the Pacific Ocean and U.S. hail frequency,” Gensini said. “In simple terms, when the jet stream is really wavy, the likelihood of experiencing hail greatly increases.”

The study by Gensini and co-author John Allen of Central Michigan University was accepted for publication in the journal, Geophysical Research Letters.

Two years ago, Gensini led research on a method to predict the likelihood of U.S. tornado activity weeks in advance. Last year, of 26 long-range (two to three weeks) forecasts for increased, average or below average U.S. tornado activity, more than half were “spot on,” Gensini said. Most of the other predictions were only slightly off.

Continue reading at Northern Illinois University

Image via Victor Gensini, Northern Illinois University