A supercell thunderstorm drifted through Denver’s northeast suburbs early this afternoon spawning tornadoes and depositing incredible amounts of hail.
The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center logged multiple reports (at least 5) of tornadoes in the vicinity of Denver and Aurora, but no reports of damage.
The rotating storms produced surreal skies:
Tornado to our southwest looking towards the Denver airport. pic.twitter.com/Nnp4uGJq1w— Jeff Bulin (@EXTREMECHASER) May 21, 2014
Capital Weather Gang’s Ian Livingston, on the scene, captured this video:
The hail – in some areas several inches deep – resembled a crippling snowstorm:
67th and TOWER (5″ hail) pic.twitter.com/ME6XGwE41j— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) May 21, 2014
Hail covering the ground in the Northfield area pic.twitter.com/LQK7CZNevS— Cody Crouch (@CodyCrouch) May 21, 2014
Here’s a view of the scene from Denver International Airport when the storm was close:
The stormy weather was fueled, in part, by southeasterly winds, setting up a pattern “known as the Denver cyclone,” said Frank Cooper, a meteorologist with the NWS in Boulder.
Denver sits in a bowl, with mountains to the west and higher terrain to the south — the Palmer Divide — and to the north — the Cheyenne Ridge.
As the winds, with gusts up to 60 mph Wednesday afternoon, mix with bands of stormy weather, the terrain sets up an “eddy” and the Denver Cyclone goes into effect, Cooper said.