By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
It turns out that the kind of hailstorms Cheyenne saw Tuesday are sort of typical for the season, according to the National Weather Service.
Tuesday’s hailstorm, accompanied by more than 2.3 inches of rain, left some streets flooded, but otherwise caused no major damage.
Gerry Claycomb, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Cheyenne, said this region is well known for its hailstorms, with the area from Rapid City, South Dakota to Denver seeing “quite a bit” of hail every year.
“A lot of the hail has to do with the elevation, since we’re pretty high up here in Cheyenne,” Claycomb told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “So since we’re so high up in the atmosphere, the big hail that forms in thunderstorms has a lot less time to melt before it hits the ground.”
According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming usually have the highest number of hailstorms in the United States every year. These states meet in an area known as “hail alley” and average seven to nine hail days per year.
Claycomb said early June is a prime time for severe storms in southeast Wyoming.
He added that some of the worst-hit areas for hail during the year are Torrington, Chugwater and Wheatland.
“Those people get some massive hail,” he said. “The topography up there mixed with the higher elevation means they just get terrible hail. Some of the worst reports I’ve seen of hail in the state have come from there.”
Hail that completely covers roadways can be especially dangerous because if it is deep enough, a vehicle’s tires may not touch the road at all, making it a sheet of ice.
After the Tuesday hailstorm, Cheyenne has now seen more precipitation since Jan. 1 than all of 2020, receiving 11.3 inches of precipitation so far this year. In 2020, the city only saw 10.03 inches.