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4 feet of hail? Massive hail storm hits Texas panhandle

4 feet of hail: Snow plows were brought out to clear muddy piles of hail that were up to 4 feet high on Route 287 in Texas. More hail is forecast for this weekend.

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A motorist sits in a truck partially buried in slushy hail near Amarillo, Texas. The Texas Panhandle storm dumped several feet of nickel-sized hail, stranded motorists in muddy, hail drifts and closed a highway for several hours.

(AP Photo/Courtesy of Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management)

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Maintenance crews worked Thursday to clear roads after a storm dumped several inches of hail on parts of the Texas Panhandle, trapping motorists in muddy drifts that were waist-to-shoulder high.

The storm left so much hail in its wake that workers had to use snow plows to clear the piles from the road.

"It was crazy," National Weather Service Meteorologist Justyn Jackson said about the strange storm, which hit Wednesday afternoon. The hail was "real small" but there was a lot of it in a concentrated area, accumulating 2- to 4-feet deep, he said.

IN PICTURES: Extreme Weather 2012

The rural area where the storm struck was mainly ranch land, about 25 miles north of Amarillo and south of Dumas. Rainwater gushed across the parched land, washing dirt and then mud into the hail, pushing it all onto U.S. 287, Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said.

"There were just piles of hail," said Maribel Martinez with the Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management. "Some of the cars were just buried in hail and people were trapped in their cars."

The southbound lane of the highway, which was shut down around 5 p.m. Wednesday, finally reopened early Thursday morning, shortly after midnight though water remained on the road until around 5 a.m., said Paul Braun, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman in Amarillo.

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