Like many, when we moved to Nederland, we were newbies to mountain living in Colorado. Shortly after buying our home, we experienced first-hand the extremes of mountain weather.
In July 2010, a massive thunderstorm dumped hail in the Nederland area, with over six inches falling along the Shelf Road to the Eldora Ski Area. We hadn’t been home during the event, but saw photos in the local paper, The Mountain-Ear. It looked like snow had fall in July.
Today, we felt the full force of a mountain hailstorm.
It started off innocently enough. Knowing that severe weather was forecast for the afternoon, we did what mountain folk do in the summer.
We took advantage of the calm before the storm to get outside and recreate. Having enjoyed our first foray into playing tennis again, we played a spirited game at the Nederland Tennis “Center” this morning.
After a 1 1/2 hours, dark clouds started moving in over our heads. They had that ominous and foreboding look. I knew it was only a matter of time before thunder and lightning would follow.
Sitting on the couch, it got darker and darker, until I finally had to turn the lights on even though it was only 3 p.m.
The rumbling began, then the raindrops, coming down hard.
A flash of light. I count on my hands — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
“That was one mile away!” I yell out to Bryon.
Then another one — two seconds.
“I just saw a bolt of lightning over the house off Shady Hollow!” says Bryon.
Soon, the raindrops had turned chunky. Small, pea-size hail started to patter on the roof, and accumulate on the deck.
The hailstones came down harder, with the stones turning the entire driveway white as they piled up an inch deep.
What I remember most was the sound. It sounded like a freight train bearing down on the house, the sound of the hail deafening. It felt at a furious pace.
Standing at the front door, I yelled over to Bryon, who stood by the french doors to the deck.
“What? I can’t hear you.”
As the hail with such force, I started to worry about the skylights. Could the hail break the glass?
While the storm seemed to last forever, in reality it last just a few minutes, before the hail slowed down and eventually stopped. As I walked out on the front porch, the smell of pine permeated the air. Had the hail literally beat the needles off the trees?
The Front Range of Colorado gets hailstorms fairly often during summers here. The Plains can get storms with up to softball-size hail, which can really cause some damage.
In May, 2017, Lakewood was particularly hard hit by the costliest storm in Denver’s history. The large hailstones pelted the roof of Colorado Mills Mall with such fury, that it broke the roof. As much as three inches of rain flooded the mall, causing it to close for six months.
One thing you can count on is that weather is always interesting on the Front Range of Colorado. To learn more about today’s hailstorm and other weather phenomena, please visit my husband’s blog, www.indianpeaksweather.net.