It started out as a warm, lazy afternoon. Erin had to work that night and had no clean scrubs, so she decided to do a load of laundry. Unbeknownst to her, the apartment tenant who had done laundry before her had used bleach in the washing machine. As Erin took the laundry out of the dryer, she noticed for the first time that some of the clothes had bleach stains on them, including her only pair of black scrub pants. With Erin having to work that night, we had no choice but to go to Walmart to buy another pair of black scrub pants. By this time, it was already about 4:00pm in the afternoon, so we knew we had to rush to the store to make sure Erin could get to work on time.
As we left the apartment, we noticed that the sky was starting to darken with rain clouds, but we didn’t find that to be unusual because we had gotten a lot of rain over the last week. We made it to Walmart without incident and bought several pairs of black scrub pants to make laundry easier in the future.
We got back in the car and started heading home. Erin was driving and it started to rain. As we drove along, we noticed a few small pieces of hail hitting our car and landing on the road. We did not think much of it, because we had experienced several rain storms that included small amounts of hail since we got to Denver. Within minutes however, it began to downpour, and hail the size of marbles began pelting our van. It became so bad we had to pull off onto a side street because we couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of the car. Other vehicles started lining the side roads as well because no one could see anything. After a few minutes of pulling off the road, the streets started flooding. The sound of hail on our car was deafening. We quickly turned on the radio and pulled out our phones. The radar showed we were right in the middle of a severe thunderstorm with the potential for golf ball sized hail. We sat huddled in our van, hoping the storm would abate quickly and that our van wouldn’t suffer any damage. The ground was covered in hail and the roads continued to flood. As we looked outside it almost seemed like there was a layer of snow on the ground because everything that wasn’t flooded was covered by a layer of hail at least an inch and a half deep. By this time, it was about 5:30 and we still had a little ways to go to get home. We decided it would be safer to try and drive away from the storm rather than stay where we were. So, Erin crawled into the back of the van and Doug slid over to the driver’s seat. Once Erin was settled back in the passenger seat, we slowly eased our way back onto the road.
To make things worse, our phones started buzzing with an alert about a tornado warning, telling people to find cover immediately. So, while Doug navigated through the flooding streets, Erin kept an eye out for funnel clouds. The flooding in the roads was incredible! Gave us a new appreciation for the concept of “flash floods!” Several intersection we came to had a stream of water flowing through them from one side to another. We came to one particular intersection where most the other vehicles parked on the sides of the road had water two inches above the bottoms of their doors.
Slowly but surely Doug drove us away from the heart of the storm and the rain and the hail slowed down. By the time we got to our apartment it was still raining, but no longer hailing. Thankfully we made it back home safely and suffered no damage to our van. It is definitely an experience we will never forget! All because of a bleached out pair of scrub pants…
|You can see the rapid accumulation of hail makes it look like snow. This is only the beginning it got much deeper.|