An isolated thunderstorm pelted downtown Durango with dime-sized hail and blasted the Durango-La Plata County Airport with a 57 mph wind gust Monday afternoon.
The narrow cell tracked from north to south, hitting Durango with hail at 3:38 p.m. and inflating airport windsocks at 4:09 p.m. before striking northern New Mexico, said Erin Walter, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
No damage was immediately reported, she said.
“It was kind of exciting,” she said. “We don’t get to see the severe weather as often in our forecast area, so it’s always exciting to see a little cell pop up – and good to know there wasn’t any damage.”
The weather front was not as intense by the time it reached the airport, said Tony Vicari, director of aviation.
“We had some brief heavy wind gusts that came through for probably a five- to 10-minute duration,” he said. “... When it happened, we didn’t have any active flights, so no significant impact. ... We did have a commercial arrival pretty shortly thereafter that arrived without incident.”
The Weather Service issued a “special statement” about the event, which means the storm cell was announced on its website and weather radio but did not interrupt television stations, Walter said.
It is somewhat unusual for storms to move from north to south, but not unheard of, she said. The region sat under a clockwise rotation Monday, which spawned several isolated storms and sent them in unusual directions, she said.
“You guys typically get your moisture when the wind is from the south or southwest and not so much from the north,” she said. “... There’s this ridge of high pressure sitting over the Four Corners, and we have some north, northwest winds over the Four Corners, and I have a feeling that is really the driving factor for the storm motion for the cell today.”