Hail and Wind from Thunderstorms Caused $5.5 Billion in Damage, KCC Says

July 17, 2023

Severe weather created when a stationary front trapped warm, humid air over Texas and the Southeast caused an estimated $5.5 billion in insured losses, Karen Clark & Co. said in a briefing in late June.

KCC said there were dozens of incidences of softball-sized hail reported in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia, as well has hurricane-force wind throughout the south. Several damaging tornadoes also formed.

In all, 25 states were impacted. There were 1,557 reports of hail, 93 reports of tornadoes and 2,719 reports of damaging wind gusts.

The trouble started on June 10, when an upper-level jet stream split into a northern branch and a southern branch. That led to the formation of upper-level troughs in the western and eastern United States and a stationary front that extended from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean.

The pattern lingered through June 19, leading to near-daily storm formations from Colorado to Georgia. KCC said the stationary front prevented warm, humid air from moving northward and diffusing. Steady onshore winds replenished the heat and moisture used by convective storms.

In addition, the southern branch of the upper-level jet stream provided vertical wind shear which intensified updrafts, allowing hailstones to remain suspended and grow to very large sizes, KCC said. A 5.5-inch hailstone was reported in Wheeler County, Texas. Hail stones from four to five inches in diameter landed in Mississippi and Arkansas.

Texas experienced the most damage from this event, followed by Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, KCC said. Severe hail from recurring “supercell thunderstorm activity” dropped softball-sized hail in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Thunderstorms also produced a 100-mph wind gust near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Two confirmed EF-3 tornadoes were formed during the weeklong weather event, causing damage in Perrytown, Texas and Louin, Mississippi.