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Large hail drops on parts of Texas and Florida as South remains at risk of severe storms

<i>CNN Weather</i><br/>Severe storms Wednesday threaten Texas and Florida.
CNN Weather
Severe storms Wednesday threaten Texas and Florida.

By Jennifer Gray and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

After parts of Texas and Florida were pounded with tennis ball-sized hail and damaging winds, the same storm system is still threatening to bring severe storms to the South on Thursday.

There were more than 60 hail reports across the South on Wednesday, including of softball-sized hail about 4.5 inches in diameter in Bellmead, Texas, and 4 inches wide in Waco, Texas. In Florida, hail was about 2.5 inches in community of Anthony.

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Storm chaser Matthew Waters captured photos of hail measuring nearly 4 inches near Waco. And Dublin, Texas, resident Gary Clayton tweeted video of large hail pummeling a pool and patio area as a bull ran for cover in the background.

Video also showed a strong hail storm pelting Palm Bay, Florida, on Wednesday.

Parts of Florida, including Orlando, were in a separate “slight risk” severe weather zone where “significant hail (2+ inches diameter) may occur,” the prediction center warned. There was also a slight risk for other parts of Florida, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

“A low-end potential exists for anomalously large hail the size of golf balls,” the weather service in Miami said, and damaging winds, frequent lightning and isolated tornadoes also will also be of concern.

Meanwhile, Shreveport, Louisiana, was covered by a Level 2 of 5 “slight risk” of severe weather. “Damaging winds and large hail will be the primary threats, but tornadoes will also be a concern,” the National Weather Service office there said.

On Thursday, portions of southern Texas and southern Louisiana into the Florida Panhandle are at risk of scattered severe storms set to bring the triple threat of damaging winds, large hail and a few tornadoes, the Storm Prediction Center said early Thursday.

“Isolated severe thunderstorms are also expected across the eastern Florida Peninsula. Hail/wind are the primary concerns with this activity,” the center warned.

While the main focus Wednesday was across Texas and Florida, a Level 1 of 5 “marginal risk” for severe weather extended across a wider area, covering more than 20 million people from Oklahoma and Arkansas to Alabama.

Gulf Coast states on alert for Thursday storms

By Thursday, the storms will push east, putting parts of Gulf Coast states farther into harm’s way. Severe storms will be possible from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

A slight risk of severe storms on Thursday covers an area with more than 14 million people, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans in Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama. A marginal risk for severe storms is in effect for 25 million people and includes cities such as Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; and Columbus, Georgia.

The biggest threat Thursday for flash flooding will be along the Gulf Coast, from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, with rain falling occasionally at 2 inches per hour, the prediction center said. A much broader area as far north as Ohio will face a lesser “marginal risk” of excessive rainfall.

By Friday, the bulk of the rain will push east, impacting much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

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CNN Meteorologists Taylor Ward and Robert Shackelford and CNN’s Sharif Paget and Jillian Sykes contributed to this report.

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