Clinton sees crazy weather as freezing rain, thunderstorm and hail hit all at once

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CLINTON, Mo. -- From sleet and freezing rain to thunderstorms and hail, residents in Clinton feel as if they saw multiple weather events in just night.

The effects of cold weather and freezing rain that turned to hail and ice have left their mark on the city. Trees were toppled. Yards were frozen. Many homeowners said they've never seen anything like it.

"It was terrifying," Rayleen Weed said.

She lives near Clinton's downtown where she recorded video of hail falling Wednesday night on top of a layer of freezing rain and ice.

It left her family's yard with a glassy later of ice cubes that almost look like marbles.

"It sounded like a regular spring thunderstorm except everything was freezing to the ground," she said.

Her family measured more than a half-inch of ice at their home.

FOX4 meteorologist Karli Ritter explained how warnings for a thunderstorm and ice storm collaborated this way. When precipitation started out on Wednesday, high parts of the atmosphere were warm. But the closer it got to the cold ground, it froze and turned into ice and hailstones.

"Because it was so cold, that's why the hail got so big even though it wasn't a true spring thunderstorm," Ritter said. "You need the cold air aloft to make hail, just like you do with a spring thunderstorm. It was obviously cold at the surface, cold way up in the atmosphere."

Southern parts of the metro were hit hardest by the ice storm, Ritter said. Areas of Henry, Pettis and Johnson counties got as much as a half-inch of ice and hail.

People in Clinton can attest to the massive size of hail. Several residents sent FOX4 photos of hail the size of quarters and half dollars.

"It sounded horrible. It sounded like the roof was caving in with frozen branches and stuff like that, and then you get outside and see the hail," said Bob Easton, retired Henry County emergency management director.

Everything that's frozen will thaw out soon enough, and then people can assess the damage to their roofs and cars, as Mother Nature's weird winter anomaly threatens to leave lasting marks.

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