Experts: Hail damage is worse, but climate role uncertain

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Climate and weather scientists say hailstorms inflict billions of dollars in damage each year, and the cost will rise as the growing population builds more homes, offices and factories.

But the researchers say the role of climate change in future hailstorms is harder to assess.

The experts met Tuesday at a conference at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Ian Giammanco (jee-uh-MAHN-koh), a meteorologist for the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, says the U.S. is building larger homes and putting them closer together, so when hailstorms hit, they do more damage.

Kristen Rasmussen, an assistant professor at Colorado State University, says the effects of climate change on hail are mixed. She says fewer storms are developing overall, but the ones that are forming are stronger.