Snowplows are a familiar sight in Omaha. But not at the end of May.
Parts of southwest Omaha were hit with enough hail Tuesday morning that plows had to move the hail out of roadways after a storm came through.
“It brought back a scary sight of ‘Oh my God, winter,’ ” commuter Jessey Bird said.
Bird said she saw more than one plow scooping away piles of hail as she traveled to her job at the Vitamin Shoppe south of 144th Street and West Center Road. The storm also left behind some flooding inside the store.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation and Omaha Public Works both had trucks out briefly Tuesday morning to clear away the hail.
Austin Rowser, the City of Omaha’s street maintenance engineer, said rain washed up hail a few feet deep in a small area on 144th between West Center and Industrial Roads.
It’s similar to what happened a few years ago in northwest Omaha.
“It’s not something that happens often,’’ Rowser said.
DOT crews cleared hail out of the southbound lanes on Interstate 680 close to West Center.
“People were sliding off due to the deep hail there,’’ said Hallie Bova, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Valley.
Some spots in southwest Omaha reported as much as 4 inches of hail. Bova said the weather service received reports of an inch of hail around 120th Street near West Center.
“I do believe there was golf ball-sized hail in Council Bluffs,’’ Bova said.
Hail also was reported in other parts of town, including the Benson, Dundee and Memorial Park neighborhoods. Crews at the Peony Park Hy-Vee at 79th and Cass Streets had to plow an estimated 7 to 8 inches of hail from the store’s entry off 83rd Street, a manager said.
Meteorologist Cathy Zapotocny, who also is based in Valley, said the hail took a southwest-to-northeast path, according to reports from the public.
Someone first reported 1¼-inch hail northeast of Gretna about 4:15 a.m. Pea-sized hail also was reported in the area.
At Dingman Collision Center near 144th and Grover Streets, body repair estimators were seeing mostly minor damage to vehicles.
“It’s certainly not the huge hailstorm that we saw two years ago when so many car windows were broken out and people needed quick repairs,” said owner Darcie Dingman. “There are a lot of smaller dents, and I don’t think people have had a chance to get a good look at their cars yet.”
Then came a report of 10 minutes of golf ball-sized hail 2 miles southeast of Boys Town about 4:30 a.m., followed by 1-inch-diameter hail near that same location.
The last report, she said, was 1-inch hail at 42nd Street and Interstate 80.
Monday night, large hail along I-80 between Big Springs and Ogallala, Nebraska, punched holes in the windshields of at least 50 vehicles, which were pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway, an Omaha-bound driver reported.
World-Herald staff writer Kevin Cole contributed to this report.
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