Hail storms in Colorado could become more frequent with even larger hailstones. Research by Sam Childs, a Ph.D student at Colorado State University, shows it is a weather trend.
Childs grew up the Midwest where he encountered multiple severe weather situations as a kid. “I just wanted to turn that fear into just more knowledge.” His research at Colorado State’s Atmospheric Science Department focuses on tornadoes and hail in Colorado. “Try to project the human risk from both tornadoes and severe hail storms out to the end of this century.” His work also has national support with funding from the National Science Foundation.
Childs says research is showing recent hail storms with hailstones two inches in diameter or larger are becoming more regular than rarity. He is looking into possible reasons and impacts.
There are growing damage numbers, but he points out that increasing damage is at least partially related to Colorado’s growth. More people, covering more areas in the state, add to damage reports. “The more concerning thing that at least I’ve found for this area is that the proportion or the percent of hail storms that are reported are larger,” said Childs. Larger, more destructive and dangerous hail is a safety issue.
Childs is also studying social impact. He is spending time interviewing farmers in eastern Colorado about potential impacts of more intense hail.