All Weather News

The Science Behind the Hail & Muddy Mess in Texas

12 Apr 2012, 2:39 pm

Maybe you have seen some of the incredible images from the crazy hail storm near Amarillo, Texas late yesterday afternoon.  At first glance, it doesn’t even look like hail.   Hence this very understandable question from one of our Facebook fans.

So why does it look so much like mud?

The storm was barely moving at all and managed not only to dump some serious hail, but over 3 inches of rain. Flash flooding quickly ensued. The flood waters managed to scoop up a lot of the hail that had accumulated… leading to the 4 ft. drifts. Remember that much of West Texas remains in a drought too, so a lot of dust on the ground “dirtied up” the hail pretty quickly. The Capital Weather Gang also mentioned that New Mexico (Union County) once saw 15-20 ft hail drifts in 2004. Insanity. In the end, this is a recipe consisting of two ingredients: flash flooding and hail.

The photos above are from the National Weather Service Office in Amarillo. You can see more on their Facebook Page.  They were taken today, 21 hours after the storm.  How is the hail still there despite such warm temperatures in the Amarillo area today?  If you live in a snow-prone area, you know how long it can take to melt a mound of snow that high… weeks! In fact, the New Mexico hail drifts back in 2004 remained for nearly a month despite the summer heat.

Have you ever seen anything like this? I certainly haven’t! When the first picture was released on the web, I was skeptical. Then I was flabbergasted when more and more pics & vids verified it. Wow. Thanks to all of those who shared their videos.

US 287 hail event in Amarillo area – YouTube.

Stay safe.

Susie Martin
WNTV Meteorologist
Twitter: @smartinWNTV

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