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Epic hailstorm in Abilene, Texas

One of my favorite things about working in weather is the near-daily encounter with the unexpected. Today’s bout with the unexpected came from Abilene, Texas, where something called “CD-sized hail”, as characterized by one report, blasted through the city of nearly 120,000 this afternoon.

A powerful storm slowly trudged from the north into Abilene today, dropping, depending on who and what you read, as big as 4.5” (!) hail in the city, leading to widespread destruction. Local reports said 12 people were injured, and there were many, many reports of windshields and car windows destroyed by the baseball-softball sized hail, and numerous reports of home damages as well. In short, a big, big mess.

Here are some photos from that mess (all viewer-contributed, all highly appreciated!):

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To me, the big takeaway from today is another reminder that tornadoes aren’t always the biggest threat in a severe weather outbreak, even with a tornado watch issued through much of central Texas, including the highly-populated I-35 corridor, during the timing of the storm. Sure, tornadoes are undoubtedly one of the deadliest natural disasters in our country – and even more certainly amongst the hardest to predict. But people in Abilene tonight will be able to tell you first-hand about the powerful does of hail that struck the city. Best wishes to them, and for those of you in insurance, expect a slew of claims from north Texas over the next few days.

Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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