DENVER: Tornadoes and hail-producing thunderstorms struck the greater Denver area on Thursday, damaging several homes in two counties in the northern part of Colorado, though no injuries were reported, emergency officials said.
A storm packing hail and heavy rain produced a tornado in Elbert County that damaged at least five houses and tore down farm fences near the town of Silma, southeast of Denver, the county’s emergency management officials said.
Images of the damage posted by emergency crews showed roof shingles ripped off a home, a smashed window, and debris scattered next to what appeared to be a flipped camper.
“Please be careful for livestock on the roads due to broken fences,” Elbert County Emergency Management said on its Twitter feed, adding no injuries were reported.
A tornado also struck around the town of Berthoud, about 40 miles north of Denver, destroying at least three homes and damaging 12 more, prompting officials in Larimer County to warn of flash floods through the evening. Hundreds of power outages were also reported in the area.
The Northern Colorado Red Cross opened an evacuation center in Berthoud.
The National Weather Service issued a “flash flood emergency” for Boulder and Larimer Counties, two areas that were hit by severe floods in 2013, and officials warned residents to stay off roads.
“This is an extremely dangerous and life threatening situation,” the National Weather Service said, advising residents not to travel in Boulder and Larimer Counties. “Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding of small creeks and streams.”
Traffic lights failed in the city of Longmont, which activated an Emergency Operations Center as a precaution.