High temperature in Greeley breaks record; winds topple semis, drive wildfires | MyWindsorNow.com
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High temperature in Greeley breaks record; winds topple semis, drive wildfires

The high temperature in Greeley on Friday broke an 18-year-old record, as high winds toppled semitrailer trucks and drove wild fires across the Front Range.

The mercury reached 76 according to data gathered at a weather monitoring station on the campus of the University of Northern Colorado.

The previous record for the date, which was set in 1999 was 71 degrees.

Officials said damage across Weld County was minimal, though there were several instances of the wind blowing over semitrailers. Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis said people should take caution of the winds while driving.

"There have been a few high-profile vehicles that have tipped over as a result, and that can be damaging or dangerous to anyone at the time it happens," he said. "We haven't had any severe injuries, so we just ask people to be cognizant of the high winds and gusts to maintain control of their vehicles."

The winds were worse in Windsor, where three train crossings were damaged or restrained due to the winds. Trains sounded horns as they crossed for warning. The winds also broke a few power poles around Windsor, causing temporary outages.

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The high winds also helped spread wildfires south of Weld. About 300 homes were evacuated because of the wildfires near Longmont and in foothills near Boulder. They were quickly contained by firefighters working amid blowing dust and smoke.

The 24-acre fire near Longmont destroyed two barns and an outbuilding, Boulder County Sheriff's Office Division Chief Robert Sullenberger said.

The cause of that fire was unclear, but officials believed the 5-acre fire near Boulder was caused by a tree that fell into a utility pole that fell on the ground, igniting a grass fire.

Some broken car windshields were also reported because of the wind, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said.

Kyle Fredin, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said it's business as usual.

"February is one of our windiest months," he said. "What isn't normal are the warm temperatures we've been having today."

In the winter months, high winds are expected from Canada all the way south to New Mexico. Fredin said the weather will cool down quite a bit this weekend, with a high of 48 degrees on Sunday.