DENVER – People on the plains of northeastern Colorado were cleaning up Monday from a powerful storm that swept through the state, ripping off roofs, flipping trucks and damaging crops. No serious injuries were reported.
Meteorologists from the National Weather Service, meanwhile, were surveying what was believed to be the worst of the damage in Morgan and Washington counties to determine whether any of it was caused by tornadoes, which were reported by several spotters.
Winds over 70 mph and hail up to the size of baseballs were reported.
The storm left a path of damage about 20 miles long and up to 10 miles wide in the eastern half of rural Morgan County, where corn crops and large sprinkler systems were damaged, Sheriff Jim Crone said. Some were still waiting for power to be restored.
Trucks and other vehicles were blown off Interstate 76 and U.S. Highway 34 east of Brush and on smaller roads near Hillrose and Snyder, the sheriff’s office said.
Crone has not heard of anyone who has permanently lost their home, although some people are not able to stay in their houses until broken windows and other damage is repaired. People were busy helping neighbors board up broken windows and pick up tree branches, he said.
“We’re pretty fortunate that these rural folks are pretty self-sufficient,” Crone said.
A feedlot near Brush suffered some property damage but no livestock were lost, he said.
Video and photos from the airport in Brush show at least one airplane flipped over on its top and what appears to be a small building demolished. Video from KUSA-TV showed a large cottonwood tree pulled up from its roots and knocked over.
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner was headed home to Yuma with his daughter Alyson when they saw the storm approaching. After the temperature dropped by about 25 degrees and the clouds turned green, they stopped in Fort Morgan and took cover inside a Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply for about 45 minutes.
“There was a lot of debris on the roads and damage around, so we waited for a while and helped pull some debris off the road,” he said Monday in a statement.
The storm originated in southeastern Wyoming before moving into Colorado and survived into northwest Texas, National Weather Service meteorologist David Barjenbruch said.
There was some damage from hail in the Cheyenne, Wyoming area, including some broken skylights and windows on some homes and damage to cars, but it was not widespread.