Everything's Bigger In . . .
Emergency crews in the Texas Panhandle spent Wednesday afternoon clearing roadways and rescuing stranded drivers after a slow-moving freak thunderstorm dropped four feet of hail on several square miles of ranch land north of Amarillo.
That's right . . . four feet of hail.
"We estimate all that ice accumulated within a one- to two-hour timeframe," meteorologist Nicholas Fenner of the National Weather Service office in Amarillo tells CultureMap. "There were early reports of hail the size of golf balls."
"It's not rare to see hail in this area, but to see a storm stall out like this long enough to drop three to four feet is certainly unusual," meteorologist Nicholas Fenner says.
As if that weren't enough, the storm proceeded to drop two to three inches of heavy rain, which washed the hail and mud on area roads. The ice melted to form a four-foot thick blanket of dirty ice across US Highway 287, trapping a handful of unsuspecting drivers.
NWS survey crews arrived at the relatively unpopulated site to find no homes affected by the massive hail storm, although floodwaters did cause minor damage to a few houses as rains rushed towards the nearby Canadian River. No injuries were reported.
The southbound lane of the highway was closed Wednesday from 5 p.m. until midnight
"It's not rare to see hail in this area, but to see a storm stall out like this long enough to drop three to four feet is certainly unusual," Fenner says.
"The last storm of this size we can recall happened in March 1993 in Dalhart on western side of the panhandle. They had six feet of hail that took about a month to melt."
With relatively warm and sunny weather forecasted for the weekend, Fenner predicts this batch of ice won't take nearly as long to disappear.