Research center creates indoor hail storm - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Research center creates indoor hail storm

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In an effort to better understand the damage done by a hail storm and study how different materials handle them, The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety conducted a test Wednesday morning.

The test is said to be the first of its kind in the world. Researchers spent years designing and building a system to fire more than 9,000 hail stones of varying sizes at a velocity that mimics a real storm. Wednesday morning at the IBHS Research Center in Richfield, SC, hundreds of media members and insurance company representatives watched as the system fired the hail stones at a mock home built with different roofing materials and siding.

"It's exactly what you would see in the field," said Dr. Ian Giammanco, "It's very typical of your standard thunderstorm hail event especially on the roof. And that was our primary goal, the system is designed for roof testing."

Researchers recorded the demonstration using dozens of cameras placed around the test site. They'll use the video and materials damaged in the test to study how different materials respond. Giammanco says ultimately, insurance companies can better suit clients with suggestions on more damage-resistant housing materials.

"And when they go to pay for you to replace your roof, they know what products, 'Hey I should recommend this stuff you know we've tested it.' There's good science information that says this is going to hold up." Giammanco said.

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