Large Hail Damages Cars, Crops

By: Keller Russell Email
By: Keller Russell Email
Large hail  stones fell in Odell Wednesday afternoon, June 17, 2009.

Large hail stones fell in Odell Wednesday afternoon, June 17, 2009.

Gage county Emergency Management Director Mark Meints says two tornadoes briefly touched down Wednesday afternoon. He says they were spotted just outside of Odell -- which is about 18 miles southwest of Beatrice. The good news is there's no apparent damage from the tornadoes. But hail did a number on vehicles and crops all along the Nebraska-Kansas border.

Tattered leaves and broken glass represent the pounding Odell took for about 45 minutes on Wednesday. "I've never seen hail like this," Meints says.

The Gage County Emergency Management Director says hail from pea size to baseball-- even softball size-- battered the area near the Nebraska-Kansas border, damaging crops and several vehicles.

"I've seen golfball size hail -- never baseball -- it made some pretty good dents in the ground when it hit," Spencer Sutton of Odell says. The hail, carried in about 60 mile per hour winds, busted out windows of several cars at Sutton's repair shop, and it kept him busy with business from others in town.

"I've had 9 or 10 calls already from other people whose windows have been knocked out so there's quite a bit of damage," Sutton says.

The first storm was spotted east of Odell. They could actually see debris on the ground picking up which officially makes it a tornado.
Meints says they confirmed two touch downs three to seven miles east of Odell, but both were so brief there wasn't an opportunity to do much damage.

"We're not sure if it was two tornadoes or one very wide," Meints says. "The first report from a spotter was it was very wide." Meints says at one point, he did call in all his spotters to take cover. He says along with the hail, they recieved about two inches of rain within an hour.

As for crop damage -- he didn't have any estimates yet, but he expects it could be as bad as the storms that hit other parts of the county a few weeks ago Those storms did an estimated 90 thousand dollars in crop damage.


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