If you live here, I don't have to tell you that yesterday was obnoxiously windy. And when I say obnoxious, I mean Category 2 hurricane, record breaking kind of wind. There was a 101 MPH gust recorded at Cheyenne Mountain. Tens of thousands of people in our city, including my brother Chuck, have gone without power for most of the day, with utilities crews unable to repair the damage because the high winds were too dangerous to work in. On Facebook, my friends are reporting damage to their cars and homes. I've seen photo after photo of tree-flattened vehicles, torn roofs, broken windows, even itinerant trampolines! At some point during the day, the Colorado Department of Transportation declared a ban on all high profile vehicles, so all the school buses in town were grounded and parents scrambled to pick up their kids. There were multiple traffic snarls because of overturned 18-wheelers. (I'm hearing that up to 36 semi trucks flipped over in the wind. I can't confirm that number but holy mackerel!) Roads were blocked off around town as emergency crews dealt with downed trees and/or power lines. The county courthouse was evacuated because part of the roof was torn off. KRDO posted a video HERE of some of the madness. You should watch it, it'll "blow" your mind. (Pun intended!) And HERE's another crazy video of shingles flying off a building on the south side of town. In short, this windstorm can only be described as catastrophic.
As for me, I had a doctor appointment in the morning, and I decided to drive around afterward to try and document the windstorm in progress. This was a terrible idea. It felt like I was either going to be blown off the road or that at any moment a tree would topple over and flatten me inside my car. Heck, I drove for over a mile before I even got to a working traffic signal (and the drivers here are baaaaad -- trusting their judgement at a major intersection with a non-functioning traffic light is nerve wracking). I took most of these pictures from my car, because I didn't want to get out of it for fear of getting brained by a flying branch or road sign or poodle. Downtown was nearly deserted (this made it very easy to take pictures from my car, I must admit -- I could simply stop in the middle of the road with total impunity). I've never seen so many empty parking spots! Even the ever present panhandlers were absent. I did get out of my car for a few minutes, to pick up a sandwich at Wooglin's, and while I was there I dashed across the street and took a picture of the giant trees whipping in the wind on the CC campus, and I made a little video too. I'm happy to report that I made it home in one piece after that. So far no tree has landed on my car, our roof is still attached to our house, and our fence is leaning dramatically but it didn't fall over (at least not yet), so that's good. It's supposed to be very windy for the next few days. Hang on to your hats, Colorado Springsians! It's gonna be a long week!
Pikes Peak and Wahsatch.
A downed fence and some random debris at the outdoor ice skating rink in Acacia Park.
In the Near North End, Tejon at about Dale Street.
On the Colorado College campus, looking north from Cache la Poudre Street.
At Wooglin's Deli. Glad she didn't blow over -- I nearly did, just trying to get back to my car!
Cache la Poudre and Wahsatch. Notice the TV news truck in the background.
This guy braved the wind to deal with a giant tree that had fallen (shown at the top of this post), also at Cache la Poudre and Wahsatch.
An enormous tree blew over at Help of Christians Roman Catholic Church on Cache la Poudre just east of Institute. It was huge. Poor tree! And as you can see, this man was not wearing a coat. Even though the winds were gusting continuously at 70 to 80 MPH, it was weirdly warm outside, around 55°.
You can get a better idea of it from this shot. I'm sad to see such a beautiful old tree lost!
The sisters at Help of Christians kindly brought water to the men who were working to clear away the downed tree. I thought this nun was going to take flight! (Remember that TV show? It was silly but I loved it when I was a kid. )
A few blocks west of my house, this minivan on Bijou Street had a close call. Look at that huge tree! It actually blocked the eastbound lane. Somehow it missed both the minivan and those power lines. Whew!
Close call indeed! The owner of this vehicle must be so relieved.
Last but not least, here's a little video I made at CC. It's shaky because I was getting blown about. Turn up the volume to get a better sense of what it was like. Look at all the flying debris. I had to wear eye protection. Crazy!
For more pictures of storm madness taken by citizens all over town, click HERE and scroll down to the bottom.