Supercell Thunderstorms Bring Large, Damaging Hail to Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska

All Client Alert
July 28, 2016

Reported approximate areas sustaining home damage: Pine Bluffs, WY (Laramie County, 82082); Bushnell, NE (Kimball County, 69128)

NOTE: This is not currently a FEMA declared disaster.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported around 500 homes were damaged in the town of Pine Bluffs, about 40 miles east of Cheyenne near the Nebraska state line.

"It looks like the storm was a direct hit on every structure in town," Director of Wyoming Homeland Security Guy Cameron told The Wyoming Tribune Eagle Thursday. "There is virtually visible damage everywhere."

Thursday, Governor Matt Mead ordered 27 members of the Wyoming National Guard to assist with cleanup in the town of about 1,200 residents. This included clearing of trees and boarding shattered windows.

The Pine Bluffs hailstorm was from one of a pair of supercell thunderstorms that pelted parts of southeast Wyoming, western Nebraska and northeast Colorado with wind-driven, large hail that damaged homes, businesses and vehicles Wednesday.

The hail was first reported near Cheyenne, Wyoming, where it reportedly accumulated up to six inches deep 20 miles east of town. Photos taken along Interstate 80 near the Wyoming-Nebraska state line showed hail covering the ground and fog developing in the aftermath near the town of Pine Bluffs.

Wyoming DOT cameras captured what almost looked like a winter wonderland surrounding Interstate 80 near Pine Bluffs. Traffic was moving slowly around 6:30 p.m. local time due to the significant amounts of hail that piled up.

Wind-driven hail to the size of golfballs also caused damage in the town of Pine Bluffs. Reports submitted to the National Weather Service said that homes and businesses suffered damage, while some vehicles had cracked windshields.

The same storm also produced wind-driven hail near the southwest Nebraska town of Bushnell where a home suffered damage.

Hailstones to the size of tennis balls were reported from the second supercell that moved through northeast Colorado. That storm produced vehicle damage near the town of Kersey.

Recap of the Damaging Hail Storms

The radar and hail reports animation below shows how the damaging storms evolved late on Wednesday.

After the storms first started producing hail near Cheyenne, Wyoming, they split, with one supercell pushing through southeast Wyoming and southwest Nebraska. A second supercell thunderstorm moved southeastward through northeast Colorado.

Hail in the Plains is common during the spring and summer months.

The areas affected by the large hail Wednesday typically see five or more severe hail reports annually based on the 2003-2012 average. Severe hail is classified as 1-inch diameter or larger.

Source: The Weather Channel

Additional Resources:
Wyoming Tribune Eagle (7/28/16)

Casper Star-Tribune (7/28/16)

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