Hail leaves behind widespread damage

9:19 PM, May 26, 2010   |    comments
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The largest hail stone reported Wednesday was 2 miles southeast of Brighton. It measured 2.75 inches in diameter or about the size of a baseball.

Police in Commerce City say they are focusing their efforts on the area between 88th and 120th and between Tower Road and Chambers. They say all of their crews are busy assessing the damage and assisting residents.

According to Commerce City, the areas between East 96th Avenue and East 120th Avenue, between Chambers Road and Tower Road, were hit the hardest, with hail diameter ranging between golf ball and baseball size, and accumulations estimated between 6 and 12 inches on the ground.

The city says because of the intensity of the storm and icy conditions created on roads, police officers and EMS personnel were sent to several accidents in the area. Only one of the accidents involved minor injuries.

The city says many homes and vehicles in the Reunion and Fronterra subdivisions were damaged, with holes in the siding and broken windows. Some livestock owners in the area also reported minor injuries to animals caught in the storm.

A number of vehicles sustained severe damage and several crashes have been reported on the roadways in Commerce City. 9NEWS has seen broken windows and golf-ball-sized hail in that area. The hail was so deep, people were using snow shovels to clear it. It was several inches deep.

In one area, snowplows were clearing hail and standing water off the streets.

The storms continued into Wednesday evening. At one point, the stands were cleared at Dick's Sporting Goods Park because of lightning, delaying the 5A state title soccer game between Arapahoe and Fairview High Schools.

Buffalo Run Golf Course will be closed Thursday for maintenance because of the heavy hail damage on Wednesday.

Winds kicked up in Weld County where a 65 mph gust was reported near Wellington. Golf-ball-size hail was also reported in Timnath and Thornton.

Hail 1 inch in diameter fell in Hudson, in Adams County, and Windsor, in Larimer County.

Another trained spotter reported egg-sized hail near Commerce City around 1:30 p.m.

9NEWS Meteorologist Ashton Altieri says one brief tornado touched down at 1:30 p.m. near Interstate 76 and 104th Avenue. Another twister was reported near I-76 and Barr Lake on the far southeast side of Brighton shortly before 2 p.m.

High winds or a tornado struck a metal garage outside Windsor Wednesday afternoon and hurled it about 75 yards from its concrete pad.

The touchdown was in the 34,400 block of Weld County Road 15, about a mile south of Harmony Road. The property owner, Doug Beethe, said the May 2008 tornado touched down in almost the same spot on his property.

No one was hurt, but the garage was mangled and its contents strewn across Beethe's property.

"The tornado picked it up off concrete foundation and just threw it into the field," Beethe said.

The storm was moving from southeast to northwest, Beethe said. That's unusual for a thunderstorm in Northern Colorado, but similar to the path of the 2008 tornado that caused extensive damage in Windsor.

"We get horizontal hail sometimes ... but this hail was beating on the south windows," Beethe said.

The storm left piles of hail 4 to 5 inches deep on Beethe's property.

Anyone with air travel plans should check with their airline or www.flydenver.com.

Stay tuned to the networks of 9NEWS for the latest on the storm.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan staff contributed to this story.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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