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One year ago: A look back at the January 2017 wind storm - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

One year ago: A look back at the January 2017 wind storm

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

One year after hurricane force winds peeled back roofs, downed trees, knocked out power and tipped over semi trucks up on I-25, scars still remain around Colorado Springs.

On the morning of Jan. 9 ,2017, gusts measuring higher than 100 miles per hour whipped down from the mountains, wreaking havoc across Southern Colorado.

The winds were strongest in the morning, but continued to howl throughout the rest of the day.

58-year-old Joseph Boyer was killed while trying to pick up a piece of fencing that had blown into the road in a spot around the corner from a blind curve. the fence fell on him after a wind gust.

Boyer died from complications from his injuries several weeks after the storm.


The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said 16 trucks overturned in the Colorado Springs area of I-25 that Monday morning, prompting CDOT to issue restrictions for high-profile vehicles from Monument to New Mexico, leaving truckers stranded for hours on the side of the road.

The El Paso County Courthouse had to evacuate after the roof of the building was damaged. Debris from the roof forced CSPD to close a section of Tejon. Street.

Hundreds of homeowners had to replace their roofs following the wind gusts. The City of Colorado Springs removed hundreds of downed trees, in a process that took weeks to finish.

Thousands were without power after overhead power lines were toppled. At one time, more than 18,000 utilities customers were without power in the Colorado Springs area. Neighborhoods in Old Colorado City, Ivywild, the Old North End and houses in the Stratmoor Hills neighborhood were hit particularly hard.

Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) said its crews worked an equivalent of 25 days of work in just five days after the storm. CSU also had to request mutual aid from surrounding agencies, something CSU normally provides for the other companies.

Overall, Colorado Springs Utilities estimated $1.6 million in damage to the city's electrical grid. According to them, that's the most damage to the electrical grid of any storm in the last 30 years.


Pueblo and communities to the south weren't spared by the hurricane-force gusts either.

The communities of Aguilar and Colorado City were both hit particularly hard. The high winds totaled cars, destroyed houses and left more than 1,300 people without power in Aguilar alone.

"Everything is down right now.  This is the worst I've seen it in this town," Las Animas County deputy Donald Gonzales said following the storm.

Aguilar's mayor even declared a state of emergency for several days as crews worked to restore power to residents there.

In Pueblo, the sound of chainsaws were heard around the Steel City for weeks after the high winds. Many residents spent time after the storm trying to remove downed trees, which damaged homes and cars.

"She was scared," said Pueblo resident James Quntana, who described his sister-in-law's reaction to a tree crashing into her home. "She didn't know what had happened. Like she said earlier she thought someone had ran into the house with a car."


One year later, Colorado Springs city foresters say the overall health of trees around the city are not as strong as they were prior to the high winds.

"(The city) had about 130 to 140 trees that failed," said Jay Hein, the forester for the City of Colorado Springs. "You could probably double that for the parks, some of that did not get captured, and then you could probably double that again for trees that failed on private property.'' 

Even one year later, the city said it is still working to remove dead trees from public areas. They said the continued clean up is expected to cost about $30,000.

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