Make your own hail pad
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Hailstones littered the ground across parts of northern Blue Earth County with yesterdays, August 22nd, severe weather. The pieces of ice ranged in size from small pea size (0.25″ in diameter) up to the size of a hen egg (2″ in diameter). To see images of the hail reports from yesterday’s event head over to KEYC.com/photos. Yesterday’s severe weather was very brief making it easy for individuals to run out grab the large hailstones and submit photo evidence of the event. But what can you do to capture hailstone size when it is not safe? That’s when a hail pad comes in handy and is something you can easily make at home.
Here is what you need:
- A 12 by 12, 1 inch thick piece of styrofoam. Easily can be picked up at your near by craft store for a couple bucks.
- Aluminum foil. 18 inches wide is recommended but you can also get by with something slightly smaller, as long as you can get pieces wider than 12 by 12 out of it.
- Tape. Packaging tape works best
- A pair of scissors.
First cut off an 18″ by 18″ of aluminum foil. Again if it’s not quite 18 by 18 that is fine, as long as it can wrap around the entire front of the styrofoam and be taped to the sides and or back. Make sure to keep the aluminum foil smooth as possible.
Next you will want to wrap the aluminum foil around the piece of styrofoam. Similar to wrapping up a gift. Once again try and keep the aluminum foil as smooth as possible, especially the side that will be used for measuring the hai.
Last you want to use the tape to tape down the edges and/or corners.
Easy peasy you now have your own hail pad.
Next time you are expecting severe weather you just need to set this out in your yard in an open area where it can take a direct hit from the hail. Now the pad is very light so using some small tent stakes or yard stakes to keep it in place may be helpful. Especially since severe thunderstorms often have strong winds associated with them.
To measure the hail after the event, take out a ruler or measuring device and measure the diameter of the farthest two points. In sports they say practice makes perfect. If you want to make sure your hail paid is perfect before putting it to a real test, you can. Simply make multiple hail pads and use one for practice. To practice how the hail pad works and to practice measurements; take a golf ball, baseball, or any commonly used object to compare hail with and give it a good toss at the pad. A golf ball size hail is estimated to fall at 70 mph, so don’t hold back give it all you got. After, measure the diameter of the object on the hail pad and see the results.
Remember when issuing severe weather reports details are important. When sharing photos or reports with KEYC or the National Weather Service include:
- Time of observation.
- Location; where are you and where is the event.
- Condition; what is the weather conditions you are seeing
- Name; a name and phone number/email so if further information is needed a meteorologist can contact you.
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