Grape-size hail sends Coloradoans to cover

Published May 30, 2007

DENVER - Grape-sized hail pummeled Denver on Tuesday, blanketing downtown streets, startling drivers and pedestrians, and piling up 4 inches deep at an amusement park.

Motorists scurried under bridges or into garages, and pedestrians scrambled for cover to avoid being pelted.

Brazil Redd, 21, was outside when the rain and hail began, as her car was being towed after a hit-and-run collision.

"It hurt. I probably got bruises. It was huge, " she said. "I got soaked."

At Elitch Gardens amusement park, the hail broke lights and toppled small trees, prompting the park to close several hours early, spokeswoman Brooke Gabbert said.

Visitors were led to shelters and then moved out of the park after the storm passed.

"With the severe hail, we have to recheck all the rides. It would've been a while before we would have been able to reopen, " Gabbert said.

Marty Thrall plodded through a half-inch of hail in a short-sleeved T-shirt, shorts and sandals. "I didn't know it was going to be this icy, " he said.

Heavy rain soaked the Great Plains states from Colorado up to Minnesota on Tuesday, causing some minor flooding. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for Elbert County, 60 miles southeast of Denver, and for Lincoln County in southwestern Nebraska.