Nearly 100 people were injured and seven hospitalized when they got caught in a hail storm during a Louis Tomlinson concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater on Wednesday.
Videos published on social media show concertgoers huddling together and shielding themselves with clothes, bags, and cardboard boxes to keep from getting pelted with golf-ball-sized hail.
An attendee who shared videos on Twitter said she had “bruises and welts all over my back and legs.” The storm was so bad, the stadium’s medical team said on Facebook that “nature decided to unleash her fury in the form of large hail.”
However, the National Weather Service gave a fair warning. Storms were forecasted ahead of the concert and the agency even tagged the amphitheater in a tweet, saying: “Significant storm near Morrison, with radar indicating golf ball sized hail or larger near @RedRocksCO. Take cover with this storm!!”
Although golf-ball-sized hail is not unusual — it’s about mid-way through the National Severe Storms Laboratory’s (NSSL’s) measuring scale — scientists think hail storms are getting more severe because of climate change. The BBC reported in 2022 that research shows that more humid air and more powerful updraughts will result in bigger hailstorms.
According to the NSSL, hail forms when raindrops are carried upward by thunderstorm updrafts into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere. The water freezes and grows as more water collects while it’s in the air. It layers, kind of like an onion, so more moisture in the air results in bigger hail.