Hail storm closes I-74 in Shelby County

Remnants of heavy hail in Greenfield around 10 p.m. Friday.
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Police say a hailstorm that struck Shelby County left an icy mess across several miles of Interstate 74.

Hail passed through the region around 9:45 p.m. Friday. The National Weather Service cited drivers in reporting four inches of pea-sized hail on the interstate in Shelby County.

The hardest hit area was on I-74 between mile markers 105 and 107, police said. The rest of the interstate was just very wet from the rain and melted hail.

The accumulation of hail closed the highway between Exit 101 and Exit 109 for more than four hours into early Saturday morning. It was expected to reopen by 2 a.m. Saturday.

Police say it hailed for about 15 minutes without stopping.

A couple visiting from Texas en route to Cincinnati got off the interstate at London Road, hoping to get around the traffic jam and the snow plows working on the road.

"We're going to try to go up a little further and see if we can get through," he said. "I'm from Texas and I've been up here for five months and this is the craziest weather I've ever seen in my life."

Police first reported no serious property damage and no injuries. At least one car was bogged down in the wintry mix trying to pull a U-turn.

The ice storm left ruts on the roadway. One trooper said it looked as if a blizzard had just moved through the area. 

Road crews were using snow plows to clear the hail from the storm.

Off the interstate, both Frontage Road and Michigan Road were closed due to the accumulation.

A viewer in Greenfield also reported heavy hail around the same time, with some accumulation before it melted away. Another viewer submitted a picture of heavy hail in New Palestine.

A tornado watch remains in effect until 1 a.m. for most of central and southern Indiana. The line of storms has triggered several severe thunderstorm warnings as it moved slowly across the state.

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