Storm Carrying Massive ‘Gorilla Hail’ Hits Parts of Kansas and Missouri

March 14, 2024by Jim Salter, Associated Press
Storm Carrying Massive ‘Gorilla Hail’ Hits Parts of Kansas and Missouri
In this image provided by Jeremy Crabtree, large chunks of hail are shown, Wednesday night, March 13, 2024, in Shawnee, Kansas. (Jeremy Crabtree via AP)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Massive chunks of hail pelted parts of Kansas and Missouri on Wednesday night, bringing traffic to a standstill along Interstate 70, as storms unleashed possible tornadoes and meteorologists urged residents to stay indoors.

There were three unconfirmed reports of tornadoes in Wabaunsee and Shawnee counties with reports of damaged structures, but no reports of injuries or homes damaged, according to meteorologist Matt Wolters with the National Weather Service’s Topeka office. Survey teams plan to head out Thursday to evaluate the damage, he said.

There were reports of 4-inch (10-centimeter) hail, nearly softball-size, in the town of Wabaunsee and 3-inch (7.6-centimeter) hail in Geary County near Junction City and Fort Riley, Wolters said.

Descriptions of the hail ranged from the size of golf balls and apples, to softballs and baseballs.

Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, previously said the predicted hail was deemed “gorilla hail” because it had the potential to be so big.

“Gorilla hail” is a term coined by Reed Timmer, a storm chaser who calls himself an extreme meteorologist, Sosnowski said. In this case, the term might fit: Some hail from north-central Kansas into north-central Missouri could be as big as a baseball.

“When you get up to 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,” Sosnowski said.

Traffic came to a standstill for a time on part of Interstate 70 because of the falling hail, the National Weather Service said on X. Images of large hail chunks and at least one cracked windshield were shown on KSHB-TV.

Late Wednesday, forecasters issued tornado warnings in the areas around Topeka and to the north, while severe thunderstorm warnings were issued northeast of Kansas City in Missouri.

“If you are in this warning, get away from windows and shelter inside now!!!” the National Weather Service posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. The weather service said the storm had previously produced “softball-sized hail,” or 3.5-inch (8.9-centimeter) chunks.

The weather service also issued a severe thunderstorm watch for parts of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas through Thursday morning, after which forecasters said the storm will move to the east.

While the hail threat lessens Thursday, meteorologists said heavy rain and high winds were still possible from northeastern Texas through central Missouri.

The biggest threat on Friday is for torrential rain — perhaps up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) in some spots — in a line from central Louisiana up through central Arkansas, Sosnowski said.

Other parts of the country also were seeing severe weather. A major snowstorm hit Colorado starting Wednesday night, closing numerous schools and government offices and shutting down sections of highways leading to the Denver area. That storm wasn’t expected to wind down until Friday.

___

Associated Press reporter Lisa Baumann contributed from Bellingham, Washington.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Climate

Tropical Storm Alberto Moves Inland Over Northeast Mexico as Season's First Named Storm

TAMPICO, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto, the season’s first named storm, rumbled ashore early Thursday and moved inland over... Read More

TAMPICO, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto, the season’s first named storm, rumbled ashore early Thursday and moved inland over northeast Mexico, bringing heavy rains to the parched region and leaving at least three dead. The storm was expected to weaken rapidly over land, but carry... Read More

Record-Breaking US Heat Wave Scorches Midwest as New York Activates the National Guard

Extreme heat alerts affected tens of millions of people in the United States on Tuesday as cities including Chicago broke... Read More

Extreme heat alerts affected tens of millions of people in the United States on Tuesday as cities including Chicago broke records at the start of a week of sweltering weather. Midwestern states started to bake Monday in what the National Weather Service called a dangerous and long duration heat... Read More

Much of US Braces for Extreme Weather, From Southern Heat Wave to Possible Snow in the Rockies

After days of intense flooding in Florida, that state and many others are bracing for an intense heat wave, while the Pacific... Read More

After days of intense flooding in Florida, that state and many others are bracing for an intense heat wave, while the Pacific Northwest will experience unseasonably cold weather and there is a potential for late-season snow in the Rocky Mountains early next week. The chaotic weather map includes... Read More

After Rare Flash Flood Emergency, Florida Prepares for More Heavy Rainfall in Coming Days

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A tropical disturbance has brought a rare flash flood emergency to much of southern Florida... Read More

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A tropical disturbance has brought a rare flash flood emergency to much of southern Florida as residents prepared to weather more heavy rainfall on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday's downpours and subsequent flooding blocked roads, floated vehicles and delayed the Florida Panthers on their... Read More

June 12, 2024
by Tom Ramstack
Environmental Investors Accused in Congress of Hurting US Economy

WASHINGTON — Debate over the devastation of climate change was back in Congress Wednesday, this time about when responsible environmental... Read More

WASHINGTON — Debate over the devastation of climate change was back in Congress Wednesday, this time about when responsible environmental investing adversely affects the finances of businesses accused of polluting. A House Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on how environmental activists use their political power to... Read More

Tornado Hits Michigan Without Warning, Killing Toddler, While Twister in Maryland Injures Five

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — A toddler was killed and his mother was injured when a tornado struck suburban Detroit without... Read More

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — A toddler was killed and his mother was injured when a tornado struck suburban Detroit without warning, while five people were injured when a tornado in Maryland collapsed structures and trapped people inside. Officials in Livonia, Michigan, said the tornado tore through several... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top