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This is What You Should REALLY Do During Hailstorms

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This is What You Should REALLY Do During Hailstorms
What would YOU do?
If you’re an avid user of social media and are constantly aware of what’s going on around you, we’re pretty sure you must be familiar with the news of a recent hailstorm that took place around Bukit Jalil and Serdang - Sungai Besi area.

Image: User Submitted Photo
Last Friday at around 6pm, the Klang Valley area had a heavy downpour and a few areas mainly Bukit Jalil had the worst hit as the heavy rain turned into a hailstorm. Numerous trees and poles were uprooted which fell on some unfortunate cars and even damaged a few properties. Numerous footage and pictures of the incident have been circulating online and through social messaging apps such as WhatsApp. 

One of the videos that was widely circulated online was a video that showed staff members from Standard Charted running in fear as their office ceiling collapsed and glass windows shattered.




A large number of netizens expressed their sympathy towards the car owners who had their cars crushed by the uprooted trees and fallen poles. The pictures that were circulated online were actually taken at Astro’s main office parking compound in Bukit Jalil. It was reported that 24 cars were damaged within the premise but no one was hurt during the incident.

Image: User Submitted Photo
Image: User Submitted Photo
Image: User Submitted Photo
Image: User Submitted Photo
Image: User Submitted Photo
Image: User Submitted Photo
Image: User Submitted Photo
So, what is hail? No, it’s not what you say when you’re worshiping a secret spy organization named Hydra, but rather a weather condition which has the potential to not only hurt you but also destroy properties such as houses and cars. Now that we’ve mentioned it, the hail does actually sound like Hydra. 

Hail is basically bullets of frozen rain that fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds. According to The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MET), hail is very common especially during severe thunderstorms. It happens when ice particles forms in a cumulonimbus cloud due to very fast currents of air move upwards (called updrafts) and downwards (called downdrafts) inside the cloud. The ice particles will grow bigger as the cloud is at a higher level which surpasses the freezing point. The hail will then fall to the Earth when it becomes heavy enough to overcome the strength of the updraft and also due to the natural pull of the Earth’s gravity.

Minister of Science, Technology, and Information, Datuk Seri Panglima Madius Tangau told us that the hailstone size may vary between 5mm (the size of a small bean) up to 1.5cm (the size of a marble). The hailstorm usually takes place in a localized area which is directly under the cumulonimbus cloud and will usually last approximately 20 minutes. 

However, we should not underestimate Mother Nature’s power. The biggest hailstone ever recorded in the world was as huge as 8” in diameter, 18.5” in circumference, and weighed 1.9375 pounds! The hailstone fell in Vivian, South Dakota on July 23rd 2010. Now that’s one huge hail that we certainly hope we would never come across with.

Image: National Weather Service
Image: National Weather Service
Hailstones are actually a common phenomenon and we might experience it every now and then in our country. There are several Malaysians who have never come across hailstorms or never knew that it was even possible to happen in our own home soil. The Malaysian MET Department confirmed that Malaysia has experience several hailstorms such as in Shah Alam, Selangor, earlier this year in January, in Tambunan, Sabah in 2014, in Sibu in 2013, and in Jerantut, Pahang in 2009.

So, what should you really do when experiencing a hailstorm? Here’s a handy infographic to help you understand better.

We know many Malaysians must be wondering “Eh so bad lah the car, look like total loss. Can claim insurance or not?” We saved you the hassle and looked up online to see whether any insurance companies in Malaysia cover floods or natural disasters for motor vehicles. Among the insurance companies that offer such services are Etiqa (which is under Maybank), Tokio Marine, AIA, RHB Bank, AIG, AXA Affin, Standard Charted, CIMB and AmBank. However the flood/natural disaster coverage does not apply to all basic insurance packages, you would have to add-on this feature to your existing insurance plan as it is optional.

In light of recent events such as the flash flood in KL last May and now the hailstorm, we certainly feel that every Malaysian should be equipped with the additional natural disaster coverage on all of our insurance plans as we may never know if we might experience such severe weather conditions ourselves. We also strongly recommend that everyone educates themselves and their loved ones on what steps to take when you are stuck in such weather and how to prepare yourselves for it.
 
 
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