RICHBURG, S.C. -- Wednesday morning, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety performed the first-ever full-scale hailstorm created in a controlled laboratory setting.
During the hailstorm demonstration, over 9,000 one to two-inch hailstones were launched from multi-barreled air cannons at 76 mph.
The hailstones were hurled at a test house, made with different impact-resistant and non impact-resistant building materials. A test car, test patio furniture and other outside household items were included on the 55-foot diameter turntable inside the 21,000 square foot, six story test chamber.
The hailstorm demonstration lasted approximately four minutes. The turntable did a complete 360-degree turn while being pummeled with hailstones.
Research scientists at the facility were very pleased with the damage results. Ian Giammanco, Ph.D., IBHS Research Scientist told NBC Charlotte, "We were very happy to see that we're getting the representative damage. That was a big part of today, not just comparing the different products that we have on the building, but seeing our system perform and get the details correct."
IBHS President and CEO, Julie Rochman said, "I think all in all it was a good replica a good mimicking or Mother Nature."
This is the beginning of a multi-year hail research initiative that will lead to better building standards and reduced property losses.
"A single hailstorm may cause a billion dollars worth of losses and that comes out of homeowner's pockets," said IBHS Vice President, Research and Chief Engineer Tim Reinhold.