By Chris Spears
DENVER (CBS4) – A rare overnight hailstorm struck the Colorado Springs area in the early morning hours of June 13.
It dropped hail the size of tennis balls and caused widespread damage.
The National Weather Service in Pueblo released a detailed report on Sunday explaining how the Arkansas River Valley and Cheyenne Mountain helped form the massive storm.
It all started with a cluster of thunderstorms from the previous evening near the borders of Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.
Those storms produced an outflow boundary that traveled west through the Arkansas River Valley.
The outflow boundary brought warm, humid air into Colorado Springs and eventually up the side of Cheyenne Mountain.
To get a severe storm you need warm, humid air and something to make it rise.
As the air rises it will cool, condense and build a storm if other atmospheric conditions are just right.
In the case of June 13, Cheyenne Mountain was the trigger needed to make the warm, humid air that traveled up the Arkansas River Valley, rise high enough to start building a storm.
The atmosphere over El Paso County early on June 13 had the right properties in place to support a storm, allowing it to grow and produce large amounts of precipitation, including big hail.
It’s a great example of how our atmosphere and terrain work together to produce the weather that we experience.
If you enjoy geeking out over the weather you can read more of the storm report here.
Meteorologist Chris Spears travels weekly in the CBS4 Mobile Weather Lab reporting about Colorado’s weather and climate. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.