Colorado is in the country’s “hail alley,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory.
Hail is formed when updrafts in thunderstorms carry water drops to very cold air, which allows the raindrop to freeze into a ball of ice. It falls when the updraft weakens or can no longer support the weight of the ice. The stronger the updraft, the larger the hailstone.
The Colorado Springs area was certainly part of "hail alley" early Wednesday morning.
Thousands of houses and cars were damaged early Wednesday by large hail during the worst overnight storm in El Paso County in more than 20 years.
While Florida has the most thunderstorms, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming usually have the most hailstorms — and the area where these states meet averages seven to nine hail days per year, the agency reported.
The so-called hail alley gets more hail because the freezing levels — the area of the atmosphere at 32 degrees or less — in the high plains are closer to the ground than they are at sea level, where hail has time to melt before reaching the ground.