Softball-sized hail in Colorado, Nebraska injures at least 14; Seward, York Counties hit hard

Softball-sized hail in Colorado, Nebraska injures at least 14; Seward, York Counties hit hard
Garden County hail (Photo Courtesy: @1sauderben on Twitter)

Powerful storms swept out of the mountains and onto the Plains on Monday, causing significant damage and injuries in Colorado and serious damage in Nebraska.

At least 14 people were injured and at least three birds were killed in a hail storm at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, according to the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

“It was hail the size I’ve never seen before,” Jenny Koch, the zoo’s marketing director, told the Denver Post. “Basically chunks of ice. … It’s frightening.”

In western Nebraska, 2-inch hail carried on winds sometimes reaching 60 mph caused significant damage in populated areas, notably Lisco and Oshkosh, where windows, siding and cars were battered.

In Oshkosh, most north-facing windows were broken by hail, and there was one report of an injury when hail shattered a window, said Kerri Krauter, dispatcher for Garden County.

Three- to four-inch hail was reported in the Grant and Big Springs areas.

In eastern Nebraska, Utica in Seward County and parts of York County sustained significant damage from stiff winds and a hail storm, said Gary Petersen, emergency management director for the two counties.

No injuries were reported.

The hail also stripped some trees, corn and soybeans of their leaves, according to reports from the weather service. Some hail drifts were reported in streets.

Utica reported 1.5-inch hail, which damaged siding and windows on some homes, and 2.25 inches of locally heavy rain.

In Merrick County northeast of Grand Island, authorities reported large tree limbs down due to strong winds, heavy rain and 1.75-inch hail.

In York County, 1.75-inch hail and some large tree damage also were reported.

Petersen said the hail was heaviest in northwest York County, where some power lines were down and a grain bin was blown across a roadway.

Heavy rainfall led to water covering some roads in York County, he said, but no damage was done to any roadways.

Hastings reported 1.34 inches of rainfall. York had 1.38 inches.

Other areas of the state were hit by hail, and there were also reports of some wind damage.

Rainfall totals in inches for the 24 hours ending at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service office in Valley:

Albion, .06; Beatrice, .39; Blair, .01; Falls City, .85; Fremont, .06; Lincoln, .24; Nebraska City, .26; Offutt Air Force Base, .15; Eppley Airfield, .14; Florence, .22; Millard, .19; Plattsmouth, .23; Valley, .18; Wahoo, .18; Wayne, .05; Council Bluffs, .18; Clarinda, .19; Harlan, .07; Shenandoah, .09.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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