Softball-sized hailstones fall as damaging thunderstorms slam Texas and Oklahoma

(CNN) — Hail as large as softballs rained down Wednesday evening as severe thunderstorms struck parts of Texas and Oklahoma.

There were 38 reports of severe hail across Texas and Oklahoma, including near San Antonio, Fort Worth and Oklahoma City, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

More than a dozen of those reports consisted of large, lime-sized hail, which is hail of at least 2 inches in diameter or larger.

“We were in an interior closet with our children. It was eerily still outside and then we heard a loud noise and the house shook a bit with the first big hailstone,” Rebecca Gilliam, a resident of Hondo, Texas, told CNN.

One-inch hail can cause damage, but 4-inch hail, the size of a softball, was reported in the San Antonio suburb, battering cars and homes.

“The hail was so big and had so much force that it came through the roof in many areas and even sheet rock on interior walls in some areas,” said Gilliam.

The National Weather Service office in Austin/San Antonio said this was a widespread hail event.

“The hail damage yesterday could become yet another billion-dollar weather disaster for the US,” said CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen. “This could be the second billion-dollar disaster this year in Texas, after the extreme Arctic outbreak back in February.”

“Many times the storms impact more rural areas in this part of the country, but in this case the largest hail targeted large populated areas like San Antonio, Forth Worth and Oklahoma City, so more property was damaged,” Hennen added.

North and west of Fort Worth, a strong storm also produced destructive hail.

Three-inch hail, which is equivalent to baseball or apples, was reported in north Fort Worth. It smashed car windows and likely caused roof damage.

“It was very loud. The hail was pelting the house, hitting the windows, we were just hoping that the windows were going to hold up and wouldn’t break,” said Haley Brink, a CNN meteorologist. “At one point it was so loud that you couldn’t hear a person ten feet away from you talking without yelling.”

“Luckily our cars were in the garage, but looks like there were dents on the metal vents and gutters on the roof,” added Brink.

Other people were not so lucky, given their cars remained outside during the storm.

Another severe thunderstorm produced significant hail in the Norman, Oklahoma, area. Hail up to the size of baseballs was reported there.

In addition to large, damaging hail, storms also produced damaging winds and a few possible tornadoes.

Storms shift east Thursday, stretching from the central Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic Coast, with the primary threat being damaging winds.

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