Severe thunderstorm warning for Denver, Aurora as hail moves in; tornado watch in place for Denver


The National Weather Service in Boulder has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Denver, Aurora, Glendale, Littleton and Englewood, as well as a tornado watch for Denver, the Front Range and the Eastern Plains.

The warning is in place for the Denver metro area until 6:30 p.m., the NWS said. The tornado watch covers an area populated by 4.9 million people, 1,299 schools and 69 hospitals, according to the weather service.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Denver CO, Aurora CO, Centennial CO until 6:30 PM MDT

The NWS released an updated bulletin at 5:01 p.m. that said storms that produced two-inch-size hail and 60 mph winds in Douglas County are headed north to the Denver metro area.

Brad Baca took a picture of two-inch hail that fell late Thursday afternoon in Parker.

2" diameter hail fell with the earlier severe storm near Parker. Same type of storm right now moving NNE from Sedalia (just northwest of Castle Rock) in Douglas County Move indoors and stay away from windows if in that area. Destructive hail likely. #COwx

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) July 4, 2019

Forecasters are warning Denver residents to go indoors and stay away from windows.

“Destructive hail likely,” the NWS said.

Denver will be within the impact area for the next few hours.

A line of thunderstorms over Douglas County will move northward across portions of the Denver metro over the next two hours. These storms have a history of producing severe hail up to 2 inches in diameter and may produce gusts up to 60 mph. #COwx

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) July 4, 2019

Severe Thunderstorm Warning including Larkspur CO until 4:15 PM MDT

The watch went into effect at 3 p.m. and will be in place until 10 p.m. on Independence Day, the weather service said.

A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Colorado until 10 PM MDT

“A hail stone two inches in diameter could cause significant damage,” said Lisa Kriederman, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Boulder. “It could smash car and house windows and damage shingles and siding.”

She added that it’s not only gravity propelling the large hail stones but high winds.

Anyone going outdoors to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday should have some way to receive weather alerts, Kriederman said.

“We’re not saying stay indoors. But make sure you have the ability to be updated on weather alerts,” she said.

Tornadoes are possible in Denver but more likely on the Eastern Plains, Kriederman said.

“The better chance to see a tornado is east of the Interstate-25 corridor,” she said.

Localized flooding is also a possibility, with heavy rain up to an inch an hour in some areas, Kriederman said.

“If you find yourself in a low spot, get to higher ground,” she said.

With many people headed outdoors today, we encourage everyone to make sure the Wireless Emergency Alerts are enabled on your cell phone. If you are traveling without a cell phone, make sure you have other ways to receive warning information. #COwx

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) July 4, 2019

Updated July 4, 2019 at 6:13 p.m. The classification of hail size was changed from “apple-size” to two inches. The National Weather Service says hail that is 3 inches in diameter is considered “apple size.”

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