An open-source radar-based hail damage model for buildings and cars

Schmid, Timo; Portmann, Raphael; Villiger, Leonie; Schröer, Katharina; Bresch, David N.

Severe hailstorms result in substantial damage to buildings and vehicles, necessitating the quantification of associated risks. Here, we present a novel open-source hail damage model for buildings and cars based on single-polarization radar data and 250 000 geolocated hail damage reports in Switzerland from 2002 to 2021. To this end, we conduct a detailed evaluation of different radar-based hail intensity measures at 1 km resolution and find that the maximum expected severe hail size (MESHS) outperforms the other measures, despite a considerable false-alarm ratio. Asset-specific hail damage impact functions for buildings and cars are calibrated based on MESHS and incorporated into the open-source risk modelling platform CLIMADA. The model successfully estimates the correct order of magnitude for the number of damaged building in 91 %, their total cost in 77 %, the number of damaged vehicles in 74 %, and their total cost in 60 % of over 100 considered large hail events. We found considerable uncertainties in hail damage estimates, which are largely attributable to limitations of radar-based hail detection. Therefore, we explore the usage of crowdsourced hail reports and find substantially improved spatial representation of severe hail for individual events. By highlighting the potential and limitations of radar-based hail size estimates, particularly MESHS, and the utilization of an open-source risk modelling platform, this study represents a significant step towards addressing the gap in risk quantification associated with severe hail events in Switzerland.

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Schmid, Timo / Portmann, Raphael / Villiger, Leonie / et al: An open-source radar-based hail damage model for buildings and cars. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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