City provides overview of wind damage around Colorado Springs

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COLORADO SPRINGS — On Wednesday, Dec. 15, heavy winds blew over trees and knocked out power lines, affecting those living in the Pikes Peak region. This prompted the City of Colorado Springs to update the community about their plans to restore the city to normal. According to Jim Reid, executive director of the Pikes Peak Regional Emergency Management, peak wind gusts reached up to 91 mph that day.

Downed power lines and trees as a result of extreme wind gusts. Credit: Ray Hartless

“That’s had an impact across the region… several overturned semis, more than 30-thousand homes without power, fallen trees, debris throughout the region, some small fires, some roof damage to buildings,” Reid said.

The city was joined by other departments including the City of Colorado Springs Forester, the City of Colorado Springs Operations and Maintenance, El Paso County Public Works, Colorado Springs Fire Department and Colorado Springs Utilities.

Reid said cleaning crews would start clearing the roads of debris Thursday morning, Dec. 16, once the winds died down.

“The next phase of this process is going to be our recovery, assessing damage throughout the region and supporting restoration to normal. Many homes will still be without power. Some will be restored soon, others may take longer,” Reid said.

Blown over power lines resulted in many without power. Credit: Ray Hartless

Colorado Springs Utilities said many homes could expect to see power come on overnight.

On the topic of power, CSU warned residents to stay away from downed power lines and said to treat them like they were live.

For those who many not see their power come back on overnight, the fire department asked homeowners to be careful about using other methods to heat their homes.

“Anything that’s got a off-gas of CO in your house… something that’s going to burn and put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning… if you don’t have a regular wood fire that you could use or something like that then that you seek out some other place to stay,” Fire Chief Randy Royal said.

Huge trees in the community that had lived for years were taken out in a single day. Credit: Ray Hartless

Reid said for those with generators to power their home to be sure to keep them outside and not bring them in the house. For those who may not have any other way to heat their house until the power comes back on, the Red Cross said they would be providing places for those displaced to warm up for a short time, but they noted they didn’t have the resources to put people up for the night. Their Colorado Springs location is here:

El Paso County

  • First United Methodist Church – 420 North Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Downed trees:

Private trees are the responsibility of the homeowner, but public trees and trees blocking public rights of way can be addressed by the appropriate local government.

For NON-emergency assistance with downed public trees, Colorado Springs residents can use the GoCOS! mobile app (coloradosprings.gov/gocos) (App Store link) (Play Store link).

For NON-emergency assistance with downed public trees, Manitou Springs residents can use the SeeClickFix app at https://seeclickfix.com/manitou-springs.

To report a downed street tree in the public right of way in El Paso County, visit https://citizenconnect.elpasoco.com or call 719-520-6460.

Downed Power Lines:

Residents should be on the lookout for fallen power lines or trees that have come into contact with a power line.

Downed power lines can look relatively harmless, but don’t be fooled. They likely carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. If you see this, stay away from the line and/or tree, and immediately call your local utility company or call 911. 

2-1-1 Resource: As we look toward recovery from this event, residents are reminded to call 2-1-1 or visit https://admin.elpasoco.com/windstorm-resources/ for guidance. These outlets provide information on what to do about downed trees, power outages and debris, as well as direction to community service organizations. If 2-1-1 does not work on certain phones, residents can call 719-955-0742.

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