A slow-moving supercell buried a Texas highway in several feet of hail on Wednesday, bringing traffic to a halt and requiring the department of transportation to call out the snow plows to clear the roadway.
Meteorologists from the Amarillow National Weather Service office compiled several photographs from the public and also conducted a storm survey in northern Potter County along U.S. highway 287 24 hours after the storm to assess the full impact. Their findings were quite dramatic.
A slow-moving severe thunderstorm just south of the town of Masterson brought not only heavy hail, but also very heavy rain. The rain acted to float the hail across the surface, resulting in large “drifts” of hail piling up in ditches and against roadway culverts.
Radar estimates indicate 5 to 6 inches if rain fell in an area about 25 miles north of Amarillo, all inside of a 1-2 hour period. Hail to the size of golfballs fell and the runoff from the heavy rain created 3-4 foot drifts across U.S. Highway 287. The hail forced the roadway to be shut down for over 12 hours.
When National Weather Service meteorologists surveyed the area on Thursday — nearly 24 hours after the storm — they still found mounds of hail that had not yet melted lining the sides of the roadway.