What You Need to Know About Storm Season in the Midwest
People who live in the Midwest know that weather can be unpredictable. It seems like a new storm rolls through every time the seasons change, and sometimes there can even be snow and high temperatures within the same week!
Storms are a major source of roof damage, which can lead to other detrimental effects on residential and commercial properties. When a roof isn’t restored properly, it can put your family’s protection and security at risk. Find out when storms in the Midwest are likely to occur and how to protect your home from storm damage.
Tornado Season in the Midwest
One of the most destructive and devastating types of storms to occur in the Midwest is a tornado. The most important thing to remember is to stay safe and seek protection. Make sure you’re aware of where you should seek shelter at home, work or anywhere you could be when a tornado storm warning hits.
When is Tornado Season?
April, May and June are months when most tornadoes occur in the United States. These destructive types of storms are likely to form during spring thunderstorms when warm, humid air collides with cold, dry air. As the warm air rises, the colder air forms around it and can cause an updraft.
Where Do Most Tornadoes Occur in the Midwest?
There is an area in the Great Plains known as Tornado Alley, where each tornado season brings a lot of activity. The states most commonly included are Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
What Damage is Caused By Tornadoes?
The amount of devastation left behind after a tornado can depend on its intensity. Experts use the Enhanced Fujita Scale during tornado season to determine the strength of this type of storm.
- EF0 - 65 to 85 mph winds: This level only causes minor property damage. People should notice broken tree branches and potentially power lines down.
- EF1 - 86 to 110 mph winds: After this storm, you’ll notice broken windows, trees uprooted from the ground, cars and mobile homes rolled over or blown around and even the roofs of homes torn off.
- EF2 - 111 to 135 mph winds: These strong winds can cause considerable damage. EF2 tornadoes can snap or uproot large trees, lift cars off the ground and tear the roofs off homes.
- EF3 - 136 to 165 mph winds: Severe tornadoes leave a mess in their wake. This level of storm can tear the walls off homes, lift heavy cars, collapse cell phone towers and move or destroy mobile homes and structures without proper foundation.
- EF4 - 166 to 200 mph winds: The effects after an EF4 tornado are devastating. The walls will collapse on well-built houses and schools, and it can cause major damage to high-rise buildings.
- EF5 - 200+ mph winds: The highest level of tornado damage can cause trees to be debarked with only large branches remaining, extensive destruction to high-rise buildings and schools and houses to be completely gone.
How Do Tornadoes Damage Property? Roof Damage Caused by Tornadoes
Damage from tornadoes is usually caused by high winds and flying or falling debris. This can remove or tear shingles away from a home, or cause tree branches and other flying objects to damage siding, windows or other parts of the home. Luckily, according to U.S. tornadoes, about 90% of recorded tornadoes are weak with a EF0 or EF1 rating, so the damage caused by tornadoes is usually not devastating for homeowners.
If you do experience a tornado or high winds in your area, we recommend scheduling a property evaluation or checking for the following signs of property damage caused by a tornado:
- Shingles of a home could be peeled off, curled, torn or missing. If you’re not sure if you spot damage, get a better look at your roof with a drone roof inspection.
Check for damage to gutters, chimney, soffits, fascia and other roof accents. Strong winds have the power to shift some of these features out of place.
- Leaks, discoloration or peeling paint on the ceiling or walls are a giveaway that your roof has suffered damage from a storm. It’s important to take action quickly to avoid major damages to your home.
Even areas that aren’t directly hit by tornadoes can be impacted by high winds, heavy rainfall and more. If there’s been a storm in the area, make sure you take the time to check for common signs of wind damage around your home.
Hail Storm Season in the Midwest
Depending on the size of hail, hailstorms can do quite a bit of damage to a home’s roof! We’ll go over when you can expect hail damage and what to look for after your area has been hit with hail.
What Time of Year Does Hail Occur?
Hail can strike anytime during thunderstorms in the spring, summer and fall months, but most storms happen from May through September. A drop in temperatures during this time is a good indicator of a potential hailstorm.
How Does Hail Form?
When warm and cold fronts meet during a storm, raindrops are carried by rising updrafts into the cold atmosphere, turning them into hailstones. The hail drops once they are large enough that their weight cannot be supported by the updraft, according to The National Severe Storms Laboratory.
Identifying Hail Damage to Your Roof
Hail damage varies depending on the size of the hail your area has experienced, but there are common places to look for hail damage that property owners should keep in mind after a storm:
- Shingles: The first place to look for damage is your shingles. Hail can dent, crack or damage your shingles, and some may even go missing after a big hailstorm. You may also notice a lack of granules, which is the part of the shingles that gives it a nice color and texture.
- Siding: Similar to shingles, this part of your home can take a beating in a hailstorm. You’ll notice cracks and dents on your siding, especially if there were also strong winds during the storm that forced the hail to strike the side of the house.
- Windows: If the hail is large enough, it can crack or shatter the windows of your home! If you see this type of damage after a storm, make sure to contact a professional right away!
- Gutters: Misplaced, dented or damaged gutters and downspouts can be another sign you’ve had a severe storm in the area. Homeowners can also check the gutters for the granule build up that was lost from the harm to the shingles.
If you’re unsure whether or not you’ve experienced hail damage from the most recent storm, contact your local roofing contractors for an expert evaluation. For more information about how much damage can be done based on the size of hail, check out our handy hail damage chart!
Thunderstorms in the Midwest
Most other types of storms in the Midwest form alongside thunder and lightning. Oftentimes, the weather conditions that lead to a thunderstorm are the same elements that can lead to tornadoes and hail.
How Do Severe Thunderstorms & Lightning Develop?
A thunderstorm forms when warm moist air is forced to rise into colder parts of the atmosphere, usually from meeting a cold front head-on, and leads to updrafts and downdrafts. Lightning occurs when a significant charge develops within the storm from tiny ice particles colliding together millions of times per second.
There are three stages to a thunderstorm:
- The Developing Stage: During development, warm air rises above the cooler air, creating large cumulus clouds that grow vertically with the warm updrafts.
- The Mature Stage: This is the most dangerous part of a thunderstorm and will determine the severity and type of storm it will develop into. Throughout the mature stage, updrafts and downdrafts coexist as it begins to rain, and these conditions are what can lead to tornadoes, high winds, hail, lightning and flash flooding.
- The Dissipating Stage: Once the cold front takes over and the storm has run out of warm moisture, only downdrafts are left. This helps the storm dwindle down to a light rain with weaker winds.
What is the Difference Between a Thunderstorm Warning and a Thunderstorm Watch?
Meteorologists will predict the severity of a storm to keep residents safe. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means the weather conditions are favorable and residents should prepare for a storm. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means there is a threat to life and property, and those in the storm’s path should seek shelter right away.
Can Thunderstorms Damage Homes?
When accompanied by high winds and/or hail, thunderstorms can lead to roof damage. Experts will look for dented, curling or missing shingles as well as property damage to roof accents and siding. Contact a professional to see if your storm damage is covered by insurance.
After a storm, hire a local roofing contractor to come out for a property evaluation - they’ll be able to spot even small signs of damage caused by any type of storm that has passed through. Your roofing expert can also provide insights on the urgency of repairing those damages and whether or not you should contact your insurance provider. When storms damage homes, you’ll most likely be able to file an insurance claim to compensate for specific storm damage. The drone roof inspections that Superstorm Restoration’s team performs can provide excellent images and proof of damage for homeowners submitting an insurance claim.
Snow Storms Can Lead to Roof Leaks
We can’t forget about the impact winter weather can have on a roof! Heavy snow can cause roofs to cave in when they’re not cleared off, or it can lead to ice dams damaging your roof. Ice dams are formed when snow starts to melt off the roof, but the water freezes to ice, blocking more excess water from running off the roof. Eventually, that water builds up and can cause roof leaks, water damage and harm to your gutters.
Homeowners can usually spot the signs of an ice dam by spotting very large icicles hanging off the roof or gutters. Learn more helpful tips about how to prevent ice dams and safely get rid of excess snow on your roof!
Schedule a Free Property Evaluation After Any Type of Storm
Our team can’t predict when a devastating storm will hit, but we can guarantee we’ll be there after any type of storm to help homeowners restore the damage severe weather can leave behind. Book your appointment online or contact Superstorm Restoration at one of our local offices.