Why Colorado’s Front Range is a perfect petri dish for hail | SummitDaily.com

Why Colorado’s Front Range is a perfect petri dish for hail

By John Ingold / The Denver Post

DENVER, CO - MAY 8: People navigate piles of hail along Larimer street on the Metropolitan State University of Denver campus after a pounding hail storm ripped through the area on May 8, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The fast moving storm took many by surprise when the storm hit around 3:00.

The largest hailstone ever recorded in America spent close to an hour aloft in a cloud growing to the size of a small volleyball, then plunged to earth at more than 100 mph, struck the ground in South Dakota weighing nearly 2 pounds, left a divot, was scooped up by a local rancher and placed in a freezer, melted a bit during a power outage, was packed in dry ice and driven cross country, and finally arrived at a lab in Boulder where Charles Knight, one of the nation's premier authorities on hail, added it to a research collection that also included the two previous record-setting hailstones.

Even by Knight's high standards, though, the golf ball-sized hail that hammered the western metro area last week was something to behold.

"Large hail is pretty rare this close to the Front Range," said Knight, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "It's really pretty rare anywhere."

Read the full story on The Denver Post website.