What The Hail Is Going On? 4 Facts About Colorado’s Destructive Weather Pattern

Listen Now
Photo: Car Hail Damage - AP Photo
Patrick Clark inspects his damaged car after a strong spring storm moved through the metropolitan Denver area Monday afternoon, May 8, 2017.

Brutal monsoon storms have brought flooding, tornadoes and, of course, lots of hail to Colorado in the past month. Colorado Springs was the latest locale to get hit by severe weather. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo lost several animals, and local glass shops have run out of glass to replace shattered windshields. (We've yet to see where it ranks in Colorado's costliest hailstorms.)

We wanted to get back to basics after the latest hail-tastrophe. Former state climatologist Nolan Doesken answered some basic hail questions for Colorado Matters.

I’m at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where tow trucks are retrieving the hundreds of cars wrecked by hail yesterday. #cowx pic.twitter.com/EVGaqCTmg9

When Is Hail Season In Colorado? Why Was This One So Bad?

Hail starts falling in May and June, and comes to end in September. The fastest a hailstorm is, the worse the damage. The storm in Colorado Springs moved very fast.

Why Is Colorado So Prone To Hail Anyway?

Colorado's mix of high altitude and dry air is hail heaven. For those icy stones to form, strong, dry winds have to carry water up and up to the higher, colder parts of the atmosphere and hold them there.

Is Climate Change Making It Worse?

Warming temperatures should actually reduce the chance of hail. Hotter summers, fewer balls of ice falling from the sky. Perhaps one day hail will be less frequent and less damaging, but not this year.

So, What Was The Biggest Hail Stone Ever?

Colorado's largest hail stone measured 4.5 inches in diameter. But South Dakota clinches the nationwide title, with an 8-inch stone that was found July 2010. It weighed nearly 2 pounds.