Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spring in the Rockies, Part II

It was just 10 days ago that we were talking about snow across much of the central Rocky Mountain region, including several inches in the Denver Metropolitan area (see It's Not Over Until We Say It's Over).  My how things have changed as yesterday a remarkable supercell thunderstorm moved through the Denver Metropolitan area, resulting in a tornado warning for an area that included the Denver International Airport.

Some great photos of the storm are available from  As of this morning, the Storm Prediction lists 9 tornado reports from the area.

The Doppler velocity image below shows the remarkable mesocyclone that accompanied the storm with green indicating flow towards the radar (lighter green indicates stronger flow towards the radar) and red indicating flow away from the radar.  A mesocyclone is a storm-scale area of strong rotation.  At this time, the counterclockwise circulation associated with the mesocyclone is centered to the immediate west of the radar (radar site in the center of the white dot), with a beautiful hook in the inbounds (green) Doppler velocities.

Significant hail accumulations were also reported in the area.  The Denver Police Department took this photo of a 5 inch hail accumulation.

The hail intensity/damage potential in eastern Colorado is amongst the highest in the United States, with $3 billion in damages during the first decade of the 21st century.  It's a good place to own a garage.


  1. Parked my car outside of DIA for my honeymoon in July of 2011. Came back to a vehicle that closely resembled a golf ball.