Major hailstorms pelted three big cities across the south-central United States on Wednesday night, shattering windows, denting vehicles and leaving behind headaches for homeowners. The hail hit such a widespread and populated area that damage estimates are expected to total upwards of $3 billion, according to AccuWeather forecasters.
Communities around Norman, Oklahoma, and San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas, were hit the hardest by the storms, forcing residents to take shelter inside as the massive hail bombarded the areas.
In Hondo, Texas, located west of San Antonio, hailstones rivaled the size of grapefruits, reaching roughly 4 inches in diameter. In Norman, hail ranged from the size of golf balls to baseballs.
The hail was flying with such ferocity that windows of homes were shattered and, in some cases, caused damage inside. One resident in Haslet, Texas, located near Fort Worth, recorded a video of hail creating waves in the backyard swimming pool while the sound of glass shattering could be heard in the background as chunks of ice knocked out windows.
The aftermath was evident all across the three cities in the wake of the storms, especially at parking lots and car dealerships where vehicles were left out in the elements.
“Oh my God,” one person exclaimed upon seeing damage to vehicles up close after the storm had passed. “Yours is shattered too,” they told another car owner that was nearby.
Photos and videos of damage and giant hailstones flooded social media. One person posting on Twitter shared two images — one of a hailstone that appeared to be about softball-sized alongside a photo of the hole that, the Twitter user said, the giant piece of hail blew through the ceiling of a friend’s home in Sabinal, about 60 miles west of San Antonio.
Hail that was two inches or larger fell over 6,441 square miles combined across Texas and Oklahoma, an area that roughly 1.1 million people call home. For context, the size of Connecticut is 5,543 square miles.
The weather unfolding over the Plains on Wednesday was “nearly the perfect setup for severe storms with hail,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bill Deger said.
“There was plenty of energy in the atmosphere, ‘fuel’ from sunshine, warm conditions and moisture flowing in from the Gulf of Mexico,” he explained. “The end result was very large, damaging hailstones in Texas and Oklahoma.”
“It’s not a surprising event to get big hail storms this time of the year across Texas and Oklahoma,” Deger added, “but what was remarkable about it was that we had the intersection of big hail storms in areas where there are a lot of people and businesses.”