Tornado, fire and hail hit Weld County in Monday storm | MyWindsorNow.com
James Redmond
jredmond@greeleytribune.com

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Tornado, fire and hail hit Weld County in Monday storm

A tornado touches down in Cheyenne, Wyo. Monday.

Despite a tornado touchdown, a wind-spread ground fire and hail the size of baseballs, Weld County survived Monday night's storm relatively well.

A little after 5 p.m., officials reported a tornado touched down in northern Weld near Hereford and Grover, about 40 miles northeast of Greeley near the Wyoming border.

Reports from fire districts and Weld County Sheriff's Office deputies indicated the tornado didn't cause any damage on the Weld side of the border, said Weld County Office of Emergency Management Director Roy Rudisill.

"There may have been some properties up there that had wind damage or something like that, but my understanding is that the tornado did not hit any homes or anything like that," he said.

Most of the damage happened across the border near Carpenter, Wyo., where the storm took down a couple power lines and damaged a gas line, Rudisill said.

There weren't any reported injuries in Weld. Nunn and Grover used their tornado sirens and that helped alert the communities about the tornado, Rudisill said.

At around 2:30 p.m. Monday, severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for northeastern Colorado, with a tornado watch in place that turned into tornado warnings in a few areas, specifically west central Weld.

Greeley, Eaton and Windsor were some of the cities that saw ugly clouds with no results as the storm quickly came and went through the area.

There was lots of hail damage between Pierce and Nunn, with reports of broken windshields and damage to vehicles from baseball-sized, Rudisill said.

State Farm Spokeswoman Angela Thorpe said the insurance company started receiving calls from customers in the Greeley area — and across the border — reporting moderate to severe damage to their cars and homes. With claims still coming in, she said she didn't know the extent of the damage, but she heard the situation was similar in the Cheyenne, Wyo., area.

"We've received nearly 200 auto claims and a handful of homeowners claims following yesterday's storm," she said. "We expect those will climb as more claims trickle in over the next week or two."

Rudisill said those storms moved out quietly, followed by a grass fire "that may have been lightning related out by Briggsdale."

Briggsdale Fire Department Chief James Dilka said firefighters couldn't determine if lightning or an arc of electricity from a power line started the fire near Weld County Road 69 south of Weld 80, but wind moved the fire across property where it burned a couple old and unmaintained outbuildings. Because of the age and condition of the outbuildings, he said he didn't know how much value they had or damage the fire caused.

No one was injured in the grass fire, which started about 5:45 p.m., and firefighters managed to contain the flames by 6:30 p.m. and keep them from spreading past Weld 80. Firefighters kept fighting hot spots until about 10 p.m. Monday night, Dilka said.

Weather forecast

No hazardous weather is expected Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasts call for dry, and slightly warmer than normal, weather through Friday with a slight chance of late day thunderstorms Saturday through Monday