Central Virginia PDC Hazard Mitigation Planning - Hailstorm



Hailstorms are a potentially damaging outgrowth of severe thunderstorms. Early in the developmental stages of a hailstorm, ice crystals form within a low‐pressure front due to the rapid rising of warm air into the upper atmosphere and subsequent cooling of the air mass. During summer months, when the difference between ground and upper-level temperatures is significant, hail may develop. The size of the hailstones is directly related to the severity and size of the storm. Hail is described as chunks of ice, often in a spherical or oblong shape, that is produced by thunderstorms. The size of the hail greatly affects the magnitude or severity of the damage.

Location and Extent

Hailstorms are not confined to any specific geographic location and can vary greatly in terms of size, location, intensity, and duration. The entire CVPDC area is considered to be exposed to this hazard equally.


In 2019, among the 1,199 total severe weather reported in Virginia, there were 88 large hail events (NOAA). There were 167 hail events reported between 2009 to 2019 in the CVPDC area, including two occurrences of large hail with more than two inches in diameter.

On July 23, 2016, there were severe thunderstorms that impacted this area. A nearly stationary boundary over Bedford County interacted with a very warm and unstable air mass, triggering multiple rounds of severe storms. This prolonged severe weather event started in the morning and continued well into the evening. Multiple reports of hail ranging from a quarter to baseball-sized were reported. Some cars were damaged. 

Plan Chapter