Tennis Ball-Size Hail Leaves Nebraska Town Looking Like a War Zone

Earlier this month, a ferocious hailstorm wreaked havoc throughout the American Midwest. Several cities were badly affected, but perhaps none as much as Bray, a small town in Nebraska. The hailstones that hit Bray were unbelievably large, roughly the size of tennis balls. Naturally, the town was completely battered – the storm left it looking like a war zone with houses and vehicles almost completely destroyed.

Large chunks were ripped out of houses and the paint was torn off the walls. The cars in the town looked as though they had been through a gang war – with the windscreens and windows completely smashed in. Although tornadoes were reported in the region, the hailstones did the most of the damage, wreaking havoc among the locals. Over 20 people from Bray were injured as well; they were rushed to the emergency room, but none were seriously hurt.


Photo © Mike Hollingshead/

Other Nebraska towns are also struggling with the same fate. “The worst part is it lasted 10 minutes and it was over,” said Scott Hayek, a resident of Nebraska 41 on the east edge of the business district. “Every one of these vehicles is junk pretty much.” His own home was severely hit; he fixed up the broken windows with sheets of plywood and strapped tarps to his damaged vehicles. But he’s just glad that his family is safe.


Photo © Mike Hollingshead/

“There’s a lot of damage in town,” said Terry Hynek, owner of the Wilber Meat Market. His store suffered broken windows. “As a whole we can feel lucky because things can be fixed and things can be replaced. The damage could have been worse with the amount of wind and hail. It made you feel like the small town feeling is back because sometimes we lose that. We’re a caring community, but we had a special feeling last night.” The local lumber company had kept its doors open throughout the night of the storm so people could get plywood and other materials to cover their broken windows.


Photo © Mike Hollingshead/

Megan Howe, from Clatonia, lost five windows and a tree, and had gaping holes in her slate sliding. The Wilber Care Center, where she works, lost 15 windows. Dustin Wallman, a resident of Pickrell, said that the town was hit hard by 45 mph winds. He even saved a few of the large hailstones in his freezer.


Photo © Mike Hollingshead/

According to Mike Hollingshead, a daredevil who chases storms, some of the hailstones that hit the region had a circumference of 4.25 inches. He actually chased the hailstorm all the way from Norfolk to Blair in Nebraska, taking brilliant photographs of the storm clouds and the damage caused. “It was pretty sweet looking,” he wrote. “It seemed worth changing course to check this storm – and I even wanted to drive into the big hail. Some of the stones were the size of a grapefruit. It sounds like most of them were tennis to baseball size, but if you set out looking hard enough for the biggest stone you’d be sure to find much bigger.”


Photo © Mike Hollingshead/

I suppose it’s really okay to admire just how big and beautiful these hailstones were, given the fact that no one was seriously injured. As for repairing the damage done to property, costs are expected to soar to millions of dollars. Fortunately, it’s all covered by insurance.


Photo © Mike Hollingshead/

For more incredible photos of the freak hailstorm aftermath, visit Mike Hollingshead’s webiste, Extereme Instability.

Sources: Extreme Instability, Daily Star, Journal Star

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