Hail: Unpredictable and difficult to forecast
In Switzerland, hail causes millions of francs worth of damage to vehicles, buildings and agricultural assets, and is the second most costly natural hazard in this country after floods. Individual events can cause damage in the millions within just a few minutes.
Hail has been the subject of numerous research and innovation projects for several years at both MeteoSwiss and the Mobiliar Lab for Natural Hazards at the University of Bern. These research interests have been driven by the increasing demand for precise hail data from industry experts, insurance firms and the general population. Technological developments such as the newly upgraded Swiss weather radar network, and innovations in monitoring technology such as the new fully automated hail sensor play an important role here.
The “Swiss Hail Monitoring Network” project began in the spring of 2018. Eighty automatic hail sensors, to be operated for eight years, were installed in the three regions with the highest likelihood of hail, namely the Napf, Jura and southern Ticino.
In the Napf region, 38 sensors have been installed, while in Ticino there are 27, and in Jura, 15, most of which are located on school roofs or other public buildings (see map).