Early on March 17 a year ago, the first wave of hail hit Aledo about 4 a.m. and moved quickly through Benbrook and west Fort Worth.
A second round of storms a few hours later pummeled parts of Arlington with more hail.
The hail varied from egg-size in Benbrook to tennis ball-size in south Arlington. Thousands of windshields were busted and roofs damaged, and a handful of exotic birds were killed at the Fort Worth Zoo.
$600 million Insured losses from the March 17 hailstorm that struck Fort Worth and Arlington.
Insured losses from the storm in Tarrant County climbed above $600 million, the start of what would become the costliest year for storm damage in Texas.
Six days later, a March 23 hailstorm would inflict $700 million in insured losses in Plano, followed by a $300 million hailstorm that struck Wylie on April 11.
Then on April 12, another hailstorm struck San Antonio, leaving $1.4 billion in insured losses, according to the Insurance Council of Texas, an industry trade group. By the the time the year ended, an estimated 500,000 hail claims were filed with losses exceeding $4 billion.
$4 billion Insured losses from Texas hail claims for all of 2016.
“It was the costliest storm season in Texas history when you take Hurricane Ike out of the picture, which was a $12 billion storm,” said Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas. “A lot of insurance companies took it on the chin. A lot of them are hoping they’ll see the weather slack off for a few years.”
For now, there is nothing comparable on the horizon.
There could be storms the middle of next week but it’s too early to say if anything will impact North Texas.
In North Texas, March is the third-most-active month for tornadoes, with April ranking first and May second.
Some parts of Texas have already seen severe storm damage this year. In February, San Antonio was hit with a $100 million storm.
“This year started pretty strong but it’s quieted down the last few weeks,” Hanna said. “Hopefully it will stay that way.”
The latest three-month outlook released Thursday from the Climate Prediction Center continues to show above-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation across Texas.
Costly hailstorms in 2016
March 17 Fort Worth/Arlington hailstorm: $600 million
March 23 Plano hailstorm: $700 million
April 11 Wylie hailstorm: $300 million
April 12 San Antonio hailstorm: $1.4 billion
Nov. 4 El Paso hailstorm: $200 million
Source: Insurance Council of Texas