IBHS Hail Research Expands with Texas Tech University Collaboration

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) hail field study might be off the road, but the science doesn’t stop.

The field study team is taking its impact disdrometers from the road and installing them in fixed locations throughout west Texas as part of a collaboration with Texas Tech University’s West Texas Mesonet. The pilot collaboration includes four fixed hail disdrometers that will measure the hail size distribution and impact energy of falling hailstones. The data collected from the disdrometers in this hail-prone region will play a critical role in improving radar detection of hail and weather forecast models. The collaboration is a key development in the growth of the hail research program at IBHS, as the fixed locations will significantly increase the amount of data the team is able to record. In addition, the collaboration will allow for easy implementation of test software that could further expand the capabilities of the impact disdrometers.

Hail causes significant property damage every year, yet often gets overlooked by other natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. However, IBHS is taking action to address costly hail damage through innovative research in the field, and now with the Texas Tech University collaboration. IBHS recently finished this year’s field research effort to study hailstorms with the goal of reducing property losses and improving weather forecast models and radar detection of hail. As a part of that field study, the team deployed six hail impact disdrometers, successfully capturing data on falling hail as storms passed overhead.

IBHS first tested a stationary hail impact probe at the IBHS Research Center (shown above). The test stationary probe is used with IBHS’ Research Center weather station and collects data on falling hail in Richburg, South Carolina.

IBHS’ Hank Pogorzelski (left) and Heather Sommers (right) deploy an impact probe in north Texas during the 2015 IBHS hail field study.

IBHS Hail Impact Disdrometers

The process of calibrating and using the impact disdrometers in the field.

Field Study Infographic

A look into how the results from an impact disdrometer can provide insight into a hailstorm.