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Hail, Wind & Heavy Rain Pound North Texas Counties

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Severe weather pounded parts of North Texas Thursday morning... literally! A swath of hail moved from west to east, causing major damage in parts of Parker, Tarrant, and Dallas County.

Hail the size of golf balls hit in parts of Tarrant County, breaking some vehicle windshields. Several Arlington Police Department patrol cars had windows busted.

Early Thursday morning, officials with Oncor electric reported that there were some 17,000 customers, across the metroplex, without power. Several electrical poles in west Fort Worth were knocked down during the storm. Work crews are warning residents not to go near downed lines and to call 911 to report an issue.

downed Fort Worth power line
(credit: Russell Showen/CBS 11 News)

Dozens of arriving planes at both Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Airport were prevented from landing after a ground stop, due to thunderstorms, was ordered. While the stoppage was brief delays continued for hours.

The wet weather seemed to have blown through by the end of morning rush hour, but weather experts warn North Texans should be ready for anything. CBS 11 Storm Team Meteorologist Scott Padgett said, "Don't put your umbrella away just yet, there's the potential for strong to severe storms late this morning into the early afternoon. Until the shortwave weather pattern overhead moves east, we still have the potential for severe storms that have the strength to possibly produce large, damaging hail."

Interstate-30 hail 1
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Lightning was intense before sunrise. The heaviest hail fell in parts of east Parker and Tarrant County. Residents woke to hailstones between 2 and 2 ½ inches in diameter -- that's bigger than a ping pong ball, but smaller than an orange. Officials with the Insurance Council of Texas later reported that in some areas there was hail as large as baseballs.

The weather complicated a high-water rescue by Fort Worth firefighters. When firefighters arrived to the 2900 block of Hulen Street, to help with a single care rescue, they found a vehicle stuck in water that was waist height. The section of street was flooded after the quick moving storm dumped hail and rain. Firefighters were able to rescue the driver from her car and later remove ice [fallen hail] that was clogging the storm drain.

Fort Worth fire water/hail rescue
(credit: Fort Worth Fire Dept.)

Heavy rain and high winds also caused damage, with localized flooding and gusts of up to 60 mph.

There are a lot of car repairs in the future for people parked at the MedStar Mobile Healthcare home-base, on Alta Mere Drive in Fort Worth. Officials there said 11 ambulances are now out of service because of hail damage and another 15 MedStar vehicles are also sidelined. More than three dozen employee vehicles were also damaged.

While there was significant damage to homes, business and vehicles, there are no reports of injuries from the storms.

Medstar Damage (2)
MedStar ambulances being repaired after hail storm destroys windshields.(credit: CBSDFW.COM/Chopper 11)

By late morning, the more focused storms were shifting more to the south, toward Waco.

Highway officials say flooded Interstate 10 in southeast Texas will stay closed through the weekend.

The Texas Department of Transportation on Thursday said I-10 near Beaumont remains closed in both directions. Drivers are advised to use alternate routes because I-10 is not expected to reopen until Monday afternoon.

Thousands of Southeast Texas residents have been displaced since heavy rain last week led to flooding, especially along the Sabine River.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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