3A.5 Operational Decisions and Response During a High-Impact Hail and Flash Flood Event in Potter County, Texas

Monday, 7 January 2013: 5:00 PM
Room 19A (Austin Convention Center)
Maribel Martinez, Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management, Amarillo, TX; and K. N. Scotten

A rare meteorological event evolved on 11 April 2012 when a slow moving severe thunderstorm resulted in 2 m deep hail glaciers and flash flooding along a major highway in the Texas Panhandle. Hail up to the size of golf balls fell almost continuously for nearly two hours across portions of northern Potter and southern Moore Counties, Texas. With heavy rain occurring on top of the significant hail, large hail glaciers developed in the ditches and over the roads trapping motorists and hindering emergency response efforts. Numerous travelers were stranded for up to eight hours across U.S. Highway 287 as snow plows and front-end loaders were needed to remove the accumulated hail.

This presentation will focus on the operational decision and responses made by both NWS Amarillo and the Amarillo/Potter/Randall Emergency Operations Center before, during, and after this accumulating hail and flash flood event. A look into the improvements of communication and technology improvements within NWS Amarillo and the emergency response community will be discussed. An examination into the public response, media attention, and societal impacts pertaining to this hailstorm will also be investigated.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner