Late-night hailstorms pummel Denver metro

Piles of hail in north Denver
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A mound of hail piled up in a ditch at 96th Avenue and Boston Court early Friday morning May 31, 2024, after a powerful storm swept through the northern Denver metro area overnight.

Fierce thunderstorms packing destructive hail shredded trees, shattered windows and pummeled cars and trucks across the Denver metro Thursday night.

The storms developed quickly and intensified rapidly, surprising many residents with barrages of hail that piled in foot-deep drifts, clogged storm drains and briefly flooded local roadways.

Baseball-sized hail was reported in Commerce City, and hailstones larger than limes were reported in Aurora, Broomfield and Henderson, preliminary data from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center show.

At least 60 hailstorms have been recorded in Colorado this year — nearly all of them in May, data show. Earlier this month, a hailstorm that pounded Yuma on the Eastern Plains forced residents to reach for snow shovels and construction equipment to clean up knee-high mounds of hailstones that sheared the siding off homes and left the city in a sea of pulverized glass.

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Traffic pushes through deep standing water on Havana near 98th Avenue Friday morning May 31, 2024 after a powerful storm swept through the Denver metroovernight

May typically marks the start of hail season, which tends to peak in June and July, before tapering off later in the summer.

Severe thunderstorms with hail are some of the most costly natural disasters in Colorado, especially when they sweep through heavily populated areas. A May 2017 hailstorm that hit the Denver metro caused $2.3 billion in damage and is considered the most costly insured catastrophe

More recently, the hailstorm that pelted Red Rocks concertgoers in June 2023 — injuring roughly 100 — was part of a multiday tornadic storm event that killed eight people and caused an estimated $5.4 billion in damage across Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota, Indiana, Kentucky and Arkansas.