Colorado Storm Season: The Science of Hail and How To Prepare
Colorado is known for its snowy winters and hot, sunny summers. But many may not know that it also has a significant hail-storm season. In fact, the downwind side of the Rockies experiences more hail events than any other region in North America. Locals will tell you to expect afternoon thunderstorms almost daily in the summer, and with thunderstorms often comes hail.
Hail has been known to cause significant damage to rooftops, cars, trees, crops, and other property. In 2017, Colorado saw 2.4 billion dollars in hail claims. The largest hailstone ever recorded in Colorado fell in Bethune in 2019. It measured 4.83 inches in diameter and weighed nearly half a pound-approximately the size of a softball!
But what, exactly, is hail? And why does it occur? In preparation for Colorado’s upcoming storm season, it may be interesting to understand how and why these damaging ice storms form, and what you can do to mitigate potential damage from them.
When Is Storm Season?
Storm season in Colorado generally starts in mid-April and ends in mid-September. Historically, the most damaging storms have occurred in June. However, certain parts of the state tend to see worse storms in August.
What Causes Hail?
Hail is a weather phenomenon that begins during a thunderstorm. Significant updrafts, or upward air currents, propel water droplets high enough into the air so that they freeze and form what is known as a hail embryo. The embryo gains mass as cooled water in the upper layers of the storm begins to stick to the tiny crystal embryo. The more time spent in the upper layers of the storm, the larger the hailstones will become.
What Can You Do To Prepare?
● Watch the weather:
○ Any thunderstorm has the potential to escalate into a hailstorm. Keep an eye on weather forecasts with the possibility of hail.
● Protect your property:
○ Have your roof inspected prior to storm season to ensure it can hold up to the coming hail? Repair and/or replace damaged shingles, gutters, and siding.
○ If a storm is on the horizon, keep your car in the garage or under an overhang. If this is not possible, a cardboard box placed over the windshield can be used to prevent average-sized hail from causing cracks.
What Should You Do When It Hails?
● If you are outside, find shelter immediately.
● Bring all pets inside.
● If you are in your car, park it near a building, under a gas station canopy, or in a garage. Do not park your car under an overpass.
● Following the storm, assess any damage to your home, documenting and photographing as you go for insurance purposes.
○ For your convenience, you may wish to download our free Storm Checklist here.
We Are Here to Help
J&K Roofing is here to help you prepare for and recover from Colorado’s storm season. We service the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins areas. Call us today for your free roof inspection to make sure you are ready for hail season!