The Sideshow

Texas hail and mud drifts ‘waist to shoulder’ high

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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A motorist trapped in the Texas hail storm (Photo credit: Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Manageme …

Maintenance crews in the Texas Panhandle are working to clear roads after several inches of hail fell Thursday night. In some areas, the hail mixed with heavy levels of dust to create muddy drifts that were waist- to shoulder-high, according to the Associated Press.

"It was crazy," National Weather Service Meteorologist Justyn Jackson said about the storm, which first hit Wednesday afternoon.

Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said that in rural areas, the hail mixed with rushing rainwater across dry land, which resulted in the mud and hail combination that accumulated to levels ranging from 2 to 4 feet in some areas.

"There were just piles of hail," said Maribel Martinez with the Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management. "Some of the cars were just buried in hail and people were trapped in their cars."

A National Weather Service (NWS) photo that first appeared on Facebook showed an emergency worker standing next to what was first reported as four feet of hail. The photo's caption reads: "We received this photo from earlier this evening showing just how deep the hail was in northern Potter County. If you all have any hail images feel free to post here!"

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At first, Facebook users were skeptical, with several calling the photo a fake. As one user wrote: "Faked! Why is the stuff discolored like it has road gravel in it. look in the background whats that wall?"

And not only is the photo really unusual but the caption seems to imply that four feet of actual hail fell, creating boulder-sized blocks of ice. But the NWS itself stepped in to explain how the phenomenon occurred.

A NWS meteorologist said the frozen water is beginning to slowly dissipate, which should help avoid any flash floods created by the melting hail.

"That's a good thing since it will take a few days for that hail to melt," said Andrew Moulton, an NWS meteorologist in Amarillo.

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