Spring in Colorado is fun for car people, because everyone brings out the nice rides from winter hibernation, usually after months of projects and upgrades. However, it only takes a few weeks to warm up enough that we get strong convective cells. You can read that as "thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes". And weather patterns here are often small and volatile, making it extremely difficult to tell just what you'll get. One area might get devastating hail, and a mile a way it's just rain, or even sunny and clear. Today's NWS note is pretty typical for most days in spring and early summer:
TODAY WILL SEE ANOTHER ROUND OF ISOLATED SUPERCELL THUNDERSTORMS OVER NORTHEAST CO AND SOUTHEAST WY. SOUTHEASTERLY LOW LEVEL WIND FIELDS APPEAR MORE FAVORABLE THAN YESTERDAY FOR MORE SUSTAINED ROTATING UPDRAFTS. ALSO...EASTERLY/SOUTHEASTERLY LOW LEVEL WINDS OVER EASTERN CO WILL HELP TO STRENGTHEN THE DCVZ WHERE A LOCALLY ENHANCED RISK OF TORNADOES IS EXPECTED TODAY. VERY LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE. STORMS MAY PERSIST INTO THE EVENING AND SPREAD INTO WESTERN NEB AND FAR WESTERN KS BEFORE WEAKENING.
In Boulder, we're close enough to the mountains that we don't usually get the really bad storms. But just east of here, starting at about I-25, it can get very nasty. Yesterday brought baseball size hail to a few towns on the plains. It would have been a bad day to drive the fun car to work. A little planning and awareness goes a long way.
How much is your car worth to you? A 5% chance of one inch hail can roughly translate to "you have a 1 in 20 chance of your car getting totalled if you park outside today", depending on the details. Being in to cars can unintentionally make you pretty good with weather information and risk/probability. If you want to keep up to date on the weather (and the risks that go with it), check out the great page and services from NOAA on this page. Or you can just Like/Follow them on Facebook or Twitter and get the maps and updates live.