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Baseball-sized 'gorilla hail' hits Kansas and Missouri during severe storms

In this image provided by Jeremy Crabtree, large chunks of hail are shown Wednesday night, in Shawnee, Kan. Volatile weather honed in on parts of Kansas and Missouri, with some storms dumping massive chunks of hail.
Jeremy Crabtree via AP
In this image provided by Jeremy Crabtree, large chunks of hail are shown Wednesday night, in Shawnee, Kan. Volatile weather honed in on parts of Kansas and Missouri, with some storms dumping massive chunks of hail.

Huge chunks of hail pelted parts of Kansas and Missouri on Wednesday night during a severe thunderstorm. The baseball-sized ice brought traffic to a standstill on Interstate Highway 70, prompting some drivers to take cover under a bridge.

Meteorologists urged residents to stay indoors as storms unleashed multiple tornadoes in northeast Kansas late Wednesday.

"Get away from windows and shelter inside now!!!" wrote the National Weather Service of Kansas City on Wednesday evening, adding that the storm is set to continue east.

Hail as large as 4 inches fell in some areas, but no injuries have been reported. The National Weather Service plans to send teams to Kansas on Thursday to assess the tornado damage.

Calmer weather in Kansas is expected for the rest of this week and weekend. However, severe storm chances have increased through Thursday for portions of Oklahoma, Arkansas and northeast Texas.

Additionally, there's a 30% to 50% chance of thunderstorms redeveloping in central Missouri on mid to late Thursday afternoon and evening, forecasters say.

The National Weather Service says hail, a few tornadoes, and damaging gusts are possible with the stronger thunderstorms.

The term "gorilla hail" was coined by storm-chaser and meteorologist Reed Timmer for hail that has the potential to be very large.

"When you get up to a tennis ball, baseball-sized or God forbid, softball-sized, that can do a tremendous amount of damage. And if you get hit in the head, that could be fatal," Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, told the Associated Press.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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