WeatherWeather Science


One year after Colorado hailstorm that injures 14 and kills 5 zoo animals

Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 10:51:48-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — If you experienced the hail storm from August 6, 2018 you likely remember it well. In fact, you're insurance claims may still be open!

The set up
High pressure over the desert southwest indicated a strong late summer monsoon pattern. Humid air from the Gulf of Mexico pooled over the plains. Fuel for thunderstorms was being transported to Colorado from top to bottom. The wind speeds of the jet stream were faster than a typical monsoon pattern and they were twisting with height. This indicated storms would have a sustained, rotating updraft which leads to large hail growth. Knowing this potential... a severe thunderstorm watch was issued at 1 pm.

In a storm summary from the National Weather Service, a minute by minute recap shows who was impacted and when.

Courtesy NWS Pueblo

The first severe thunderstorm warning was issued at 1:19 pm. By 2:00 pm icy baseballs were pounding Colorado Springs. At 2:20 the storm hit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo where 5 animals died. At 2:49 the storm hits Fountain and then moves southeast to the Pueblo and El Paso county line. The largest hail stone reported from this storm was in Security with a whopping 4 inches in diameter, the size of a softball.

14 people were injured in this extreme weather event. Initial estimates from this storm indicated over $170 million of insured damages in El Paso county. The storms that occurred this day in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming was eventually listed as a$1 billion dollar disaster under the U.S.A. government, with the costliest damages right here in southern Colorado.