South Carolina group holds first ever indoor hailstorm - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

South Carolina group holds first ever indoor hailstorm

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RICHBURG, SC (WMBF NEWS) – A hailstorm hit a house and car in South Carolina Wednesday but it was not the result of a thunderstorm, it was man-made and inside as the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety held its first ever indoor hailstorm test.

"It's the first time that we've done it and the fact that it worked at all," said Julie Rochman who heads the IBHS.  "We still saw thousands of hailstones very much looking like a real hailstorm and it was very exciting."

Researchers fired more than 9,000 hailstones at a car, model home and a patio set.  They said the goal of the test is to help determine what materials hold up against hailstones the best.

"We want to do some very small scale testing in the laboratory where we can actually count the number of impacts and know which stone hit which area to see what kind of damages is produced from each stone," said research engineer Dr. Tanya Brown.  "From there we'll be able to do some comparative analysis we'll be able to come up with a realistic observation as to what is best performing."

Rochman said once the evaluations of the testing are done, IBHS will work with building material companies to help inform the public about what materials will be best to put on their home to protect them from a hailstorm.

"There will be information available to the public," Rochman said.  "If you live in a high hail prone area you know that there are better products, better choices of products for you out there."

According to the IBHS, hailstones cause about $1 billion worth of property damage each year.

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