Thursday, June 7, 2012

Epic Storm

Oh hail!
What the hail?
Holy hail!

A Car Submerged in Hail
Up to four feet of hail accumulated in this area.
Source:  KOAA News

All of the above expressions were no doubt used in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last night after a hail storm of epic proportions not often seen to this degree hit the area.  Thankfully, those of us forty miles south did not get hit by the storm.  I have seen a lot of really bad hail storms and summer rain storms in Colorado Springs during the years I lived there, but I have never seen anything quite this bad before.  The car in the photo above is submerged in a sea of hail.  Flash flooding occurred during the terrible rain storm that lasted over an hour.  When the rain mixed with the heavy hail there was an immediate freezing of the water.  Many of those stuck in their cars in this frozen river of hail when rescued by the firemen were treated for hyperthermia.  The storms occurred throughout the area, but they were most damaging in a central area of the town,

One of my earliest memories is coming home from a vacation in the mountains to a flooded out basement at my childhood home in Colorado Springs.  I remember many times that the major street right in front of our home became a virtual river that flooded up onto the front yard of our home when I was growing up,  Colorado Springs is a city of many small creeks and dry creek beds.  They seem totally harmless until a quick moving storm hits with a vengeance.  Then, these creeks become potentially deadly.  As a native of Colorado Springs, I know this about my hometown and am always cautious and try to use good judgement when these storms hit.  Burned in my mind of pathways of past flash floods.  I try to avoid these areas when these summer storms hit.

According to the mayor of Colorado Springs, of nearly four inches of rain fell in two hours in parts  Colorado Springs last evening.  He stated that this was "equivalent to a 100 year storm."  That much rain and golf ball size hail falling that long creates a very scary situation that happens quite without warning.  Along with the rain and the hail comes the wind.  This caused many downed trees.

The downed trees bring up another memory from childhood.  A huge cottonwood tree once stood in our front yard.  During one of these storms, the tree was uprooted and fell south and spanned nearly the entire street on which our house was located.  My mother has the newspaper article about this event.  The photo shows that huge tree blocking Boulder Street.  If it had fallen in the opposite direction, it would have crushed our home.

Hail occurs nearly yearly in Colorado.  Some storms are bad and do a lot of damage.  Others are not nearly as bad.  While I hate being home during a hail storm because of the sound of the hail hitting the roof as I watch the damage done to trees and flowers, I am always thankful I am not out in a car or walking during such sudden storms.

Nearly 25 years ago, I had just driven onto the grounds of the Air Force Academy during a rain storm when, after I had just entered the south gate entrance, hail hit.  It was virtually impossible to drive because I could not see where I was going and the road was quickly being submerged under a combination of hail and water.  Immediately, I pulled to the side of the road to sit out the storm.  I will never forget the terror I felt as I sat there alone in the car listening to the golf ball size hail pound my car.  It sounded as if someone was viciously throwing buckets full of golf balls at my car with great force.  I worried that the wind shield would break and that the car would suddenly be swept away.  Thankfully, the storm passed, I was not injured, and I was able to go on my way to my destination of a friend's home who lived in Air Academy officer housing.  My car was totalled.  I received a handsome check for it, and I continued to drive it for years.  I was single at the time, so the money came in very handy.  I always said I was hit with an act of God on my way to a Bible study.

Another time, just a few years later, I was headed out of Colorado Springs via Ute Pass through the mountains on my way to Utah to attend my daughter Keicha's wedding.  I had just put all new tires on that same car I was driving on the Academy.  A terrible rain and flash flood started as I made my way down Colorado towards Manitou.  At 30th and Colorado, the rain waters flooding from the mountains down Colorado, and from 30th from the Garden of the Gods area came together to form flooding that obliterated the street.  I literally could not see where the street was.  I decided to turn into a gas station to wait out the storm.  I did not want to attempt the mountain pass in the rain.  Unfortunately, I could not see where the curb was because of the rain, and I hit it with full force.  My new tires were ruined.  I had to call a friend to come and rescue me.  He and a tow truck hauled me and the car back to Sears where I again had to put on new tires to make my trip to Utah.

This same friend, picked me up one evening to take me to a play at the Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs when a hail and rain storm hit with a vengeance.  I had actually just started dating this gentleman and did not know him too well at the time.  As we were driving in the storm toward the arts center, Neveda Street became a river.  My friend had a hard time navigating through the rushing water and hit a curb he could not see when we were in front of Colorado College.  He pulled in a driveway, took off his coat, tie, and shirt and got out to change the tire.  He didn't want to muss up his coat and shirt before attending the play.  He was of course plummeted by the hail as he changed the tire, but luckily he was not hurt.  I sat demurely in the car and waited for him to fix the problem so we could get to our destination.  I did have an umbrella, but it was of little help to him.  We were a bit late to the play,  and he was very wet, but we enjoyed watching Baby Doe on stage despite all the mishaps along the way.

Some say they are surprised by the flooding that storms bring to Colorado Springs.  I am not surprised, I am just amazed at the damage that can happen so quickly and without warning.  Today, there is rain in the forecast.  I hope it is not heavy.  I worry about the melting of the hail, the soaked earth, and more rain because there could be more flooding.  Pueblo also must be on alert.  We are down hill from Colorado Springs.  The water from Fountain Creek that runs from CS to Pueblo will no doubt cause flooding here.  We are advised to stay away from the trails next to the creek which is only about a mile from our house.  Sometimes, after these storms it truly becomes a raging river that overflows its banks.

If you want to see more photos from this storm in Colorado Springs, go to this link:  KOAA News.




36 comments:

rosaria williams said...

Oh my Lord! And I'm complaining that the sun is not shining?

Jean said...

Maine's occasional hail storms look downright puny compared with the ones Colorado Springs gets. I'll be looking at more photos pf yesterday's storm in a minute....
but first, I wanted to mention that I tried to leave a comment on your lovely tribute to Julie, but blogger wouldn't let me. I also wanted to mention that a frien in exercise class told me recently that she lost a daughter to suicide about 20 years ago. The daughter was 19 at the time and probably bipolar. I've known the frien just a couple of years. She said the pain lessens with time, but it never goes away. I can believe it.

Jean said...

Maine's occasional hail storms look downright puny compared with the ones Colorado Springs gets. I'll be looking at more photos pf yesterday's storm in a minute....
but first, I wanted to mention that I tried to leave a comment on your lovely tribute to Julie, but blogger wouldn't let me. I also wanted to mention that a frien in exercise class told me recently that she lost a daughter to suicide about 20 years ago. The daughter was 19 at the time and probably bipolar. I've known the frien just a couple of years. She said the pain lessens with time, but it never goes away. I can believe it.

Joyce said...

Oh my word. We've had buckets of rain and my patio pots are literally swimming, but thankfully no hail. Always a silver lining I suppose : ) Stay safe and dry!

KathyA said...

We've seen hail but NOTHING like this!! Talk about biblical proportions!

Heidrun Khokhar said...

Here's hoping you will not be flooded by the melting hail.
One thing I don't understand. Why do people carry on driving? Why don't they pull over when this is not a rare event?
Twice a curb wrecked a tire because of hail..

Cape Cod Kitty said...

I thought of you right away when I saw footage of this wild storm on the news at noon today! WOW. That looks fearsome and I am happy it is not in your area. While visiting Denver in July 1968, I saw a hailstorm that required front end loaders to clear the major roads.
May the storms coming today be tamer!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I've never seen anything like that! It has that "cool" factor of being amazing, but I definitely understand why it's frightening. Stay safe.

Beth said...

I can only imagine a storm like that. I am glad your family is safe.

Linda said...

I am glad you and your family are safe. That is quite something, Sally!

DJan said...

During my years in Colorado, I experienced a couple of seriously terrifying hail storms, but nothing anywhere like this! You have learned a lot about what not to do during these events. I'll go to your link and find out what other pictures show of the hailstorm. Yikes!

Jeanie said...

We had a lot of bluster here last night but no real action....other than what we saw down south on TV. I have had one car totalled and one seriously damaged by hail here. We also had to get a new roof as the result of a hail storm a few years back. I hope things stay calmer tonight.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Wow! That's incredible. I've never seen anything like that. I'm so glad you're okay, Sally, and if the rain does come your way, I hope the storm is mostly spent!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

That is Mother Nature's fury for sure... I have never seen that much hail in one place at one time..

You do have some interesting stories about going through floods and bad weather... And you have been through your share of storms!

Hope that flooding does not get to Pueblo... Keep us posted.

Hugs and Prayers for people who had damage today due to the storm,
Betsy

Rita said...

I didn't think it was even possible to get four feet of hail! That was a shock to me, I tell you. You've sure been in some scary storms. I'm glad this one missed you. :)

Linda Myers said...

My goodness! Around here the hail falls for maybe a minute. I can't imagine.

Joanne said...

Wow you have had some really scary experiences with the weather!!! I HATE driving in rain, but the weather recently in your neck of the woods is terrifying! Stay safe Sally!
Blessings, Joanne

Kay said...

We had hail in Illinois, but I never saw any golf ball sized ones. You really had some SPOOKY weather crisis. I'm amazed at how calm you were. Wow!

Arkansas Patti said...

I saw those pictues on the news and was stunned. I have never seen hail so deep.
I do hope that the melting and run off doesn't effect you. Stay safe.

troutbirder said...

Good grief. I had no idea a car could be buried in hail. Very scary....

Sandi said...

Hi Sally!
I choose to read just one blog this morning before I get ready for work, and I'm glad it was yours! I loved the associated memories connected to the horrific storms you've lived through! As someone else said, I'll quit complaining about the sun not shining, and be thankful for the gentle, steady rain we've had this past week!
I've been too overloaded to read or write the past few weeks, but only a week left of school now! I'm going to make it . . . Despite the sore throat I'm suffering with today!
Love, Sandi

Jackie said...

Oh my goodness! I've never seen anything like this before...ever!
I cannot imagine the desecration that was involved because of this storm. Unimaginable...

becca said...

how scary we been having some flooding in our area but this is just horrible hope no one got hurt

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Oh my gosh ... I saw something about this week's storm on the news. Very, very scary. I enjoyed your storm memories though.

Kathy M.

Barb said...

Sally, Our son called and said they had torrential rains in Denver, but I wasn't aware of your flooding and hail in CO Springs. Here in the mts, we're dry as a bone. If you hear a forecast for hail with even a small % chance of occurring, stay home - I think maybe you attract it! PS Bob & I are thinking of traveling to Zion & Bryce in the fall, too. He's never been to either.

Lynilu said...

I'd give my eye teeth to have a good heavy rain about now to slow/stop the wildfire. But I think four feet of hail or four inches of rain might be overkill. Never a happy middle, is there?

Jeanie said...

Oh, Sally, I'm so glad you weren't there -- that would be incredibly frightening. I'm glad you are safe. I shudder to ask this, but was there damage to the house you are planning to move to? I hope you're not spending the weekend at home dealing with flooding and that all will be OK.

Thinking of you. j

Rose said...

How scary! I've seen photos of cars submerged in flooding streets before, but never in a sea of ice like the one in your photo. I'll remember this the next time I complain about our ditches overflowing.

Olga said...

Gee, i have never seen hail like that. Yet another strange way weather lets us know who is boss.

Deb Shucka said...

That first picture is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen! I didn't realize insane weather was a fairly normal thing for Colorado. Hail here is a mild diversion, not something that can destroy a car and freeze people. Great stories you have to tell about your life experiences with wild weather.

Mage said...

Oh, my, what a horrible disaster. My dear other half looked at your photos and pragmatically said, "They will total." The cars. So hope you guys are ok.

Nadezda said...

What a disaster! I've never seen that picture, terrible!
Nadezda
Saint Petersburg
Russia

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Incredible photo, Sally! That would freak me out to have experienced it. We had extreme weather when I lived in Kansas. When I was 16, I had just arrived at work. Upon walking inside, the rainy afternoon turned into a hailstorm. I helplessly watched golf-ball sized hail pummel my new-to-me car out in the lot. It was devastating to me since I had just bought it. Holy hail is right! :)

Here's hoping your day is full of sunshine. Happy Monday!

The Jones Family said...

Hi - I am your newest follower. I am also an English teacher - just not retired (yet). I saw the pictures of your storm in Colorado Springs from my cousin who lives there. I also have an Aunt and Uncle from the Springs and I was born and raised in the Denver area, although I haven't lived there in some time. Colorado can have some weird and wacky weather. As I kid, I remember a couple of snow storms in June. I am looking forward to reading more interesting posts from your blog.

Friko said...

The weather is going absolutely bananas in the UK too. In an hour the rain of a whole month falls and flash floods drive people out of their homes and submerge their cars. Things are going badly wrong.

I like the story of your gentleman friend taking his top clothes off to change a tire in a hailstorm. I hope you showed your appreciation of his heroic act.

LC said...

Wow! Truly scary!