Colorado’s severe weather season is upon us and it paid a visit to the north Denver metro area in spades on Wednesday. Brief, heavy rain, large hail and a few tornadoes were reported with the fast moving storms.
Isolated thunderstorms began popping up along the Front Range after lunchtime, quickly turning severe in nature.
Hail nearly three inches in diameter pounded vehicles and homes in north Denver, Commerce City, Thornton and unincorporated Adams County. Enough hail fell in the Reunion development area of Commerce City to cover the ground like snow. Residents used snow blowers and state highway crews used snowplows to clear the frozen water.
An untold number of vehicles sustained heavy damage in the area northeast of downtown Denver. Reports of broken windows, roofs with damage and trees stripped of leaves were commonplace. In the central part of Thornton there were reports of hail up to 1.75 inches in diameter.
Operations at Denver International Airport were affected as flights were delayed while the severe weather passed. Delays of 30 to 60 minutes were experienced and those inside the airport were instructed to go to designated tornado shelters for a time.
Brief, weak tornadoes were reported in some areas and strong winds caused damage further northeast of the area. In Larimer County, multiple structures were reportedly destroyed and a 15 foot silo was knocked down.
The severe weather was enough to draw the attention of the VORTEX 2 tornado study. The research study is the largest field study of tornadoes with hundreds of scientists and dozens of vehicles roaming the plains to learn more about the severe weather. The teams tracked the storms as they moved from near DIA to the plains further to the northeast.
Are you ready for severe weather? Do you know what to do to keep you and your family safe? Review our Severe Weather 101 series to learn more:
- Part I – Watches, Warnings & More
- Part II – Tornadoes
- Part III – Hail & Wind
- Part IV – Floods & Flash Floods
- Part V – Lightning
- Severe Weather Awareness Week recap