The trail of damage from the extraordinary hailstorm that hit the Nebraska Panhandle on Monday was captured in satellite images of the Earth.
From more than 22,000 miles above the Earth, the U.S. weather satellite GOES-East detected a thin line that contrasted with the surrounding landscape. The National Weather Service office in North Platte posted the satellite images on its Facebook page.
Nathan Jurgensen, a meteorologist with the weather service in North Platte, said the damage trail was about 150 miles long and was probably about 5 miles wide or less.
For the most part, the storm traveled across rural areas, he said, but Oshkosh and Lisco were in its path.
Jurgensen said the weather service received extensive reports of damage, and in Oshkosh, the north-facing sides of buildings sustained broken windows and damaged siding. He said a rural property owner in the path of the storm reported hailstones as large as baseballs. Near Grant, even larger hailstones, as big as softballs, were reported, he said.
The storm was exceptionally powerful and long-lived, he said. Normally, these types of storms last an hour to an hour and a half before weakening. The storm, he said, lasted for nearly four hours.
The primary reason for its strength was the lack of nearby competing storms sucking energy from the atmosphere.
“All the energy in the atmosphere was available to it and it alone,” he said. “It was basically allowed to do whatever it wanted to do, and that meant very large hail.”