Colorado is part of what’s known as “Hail Alley.” In fact, nowhere in the United States gets more severe hail storms than part of the Front Range.
The other thing about Colorado? Hail falls a little faster and hits a little harder here too.
The thin Colorado air has been tormenting pitchers at Coors Field for years. It’s not just baseballs that sail through the air with ease … the same can be said for hail stones.
“Just like the Colorado Rockies, the Coors Field park, home runs go further, hail’s going to hit the ground a lot faster when it hits the ground in Denver versus when it hits the ground at sea level,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Paul Schlatter.
Schlatter said it’s based on a calculation of kinetic energy resulting in Colorado hail being about 8 percent more damaging.
So technically, damaging hail in Colorado can be slightly smaller than one-inch, but Schlatter says they aggressively warn storms that are anywhere near capable of producing one-inch hail.
Not only does the hail fall faster, but we get more hail than most places. Data from the Storm Prediction Center shows the stretch from Denver to Colorado Springs gets an average of 13 severe hail storms every year. Only southwestern Kansas can match that number.
Colorado hail can get big too. The state record is four-and-a-half inches in diameter, which is the size of a softball. That size has been verified 20 times in state history. The last time was July 2011.
There were people injured by hail in Sunday’s hail storm in Morgan County, but severe injuries from hail are not common in the U.S.
NOAA estimates there is an average of just 24 major injuries a year.
An infamous Colorado hail storm hit Fort Collins in 1979. That storm produced one of those record four-and-a-half- hailstones, and unfortunately was also responsible for one of the countries three documented hail fatalities in the last 100 years.
The Coloradoan newspaper reported that a 3-month out baby was killed in Fort Collins while in the hands of her mother, who was running for cover.
The last hail fatality in the U.S. was in Fort Worth, Texas in March 2000.