Crestone Eagle, July 2005:
Moffat/Crestone hit by powerful wind stormóblows roof off school
Friday, June 3rd, Crestone and the surrounding area was hit
by a freak wind/sand storm which caused some damage, especially
in nearby Moffat. "It looked like a 1,000 foot high freight
train rolling across the valley," said Crestone resident
Charlie Warren, as he watched the storm roll in. He also noted
that, “It was very dense.” One long time rancher
who has lived in the Valley for over 80 years, said she had
never seen anything like that ever here.
The storm hit around 3pm and came in from the west, with
wind gusts reported over 70 MPH in some parts of the northern
San Luis Valley. In Moffat, parts of the school’s metal
roof were blown off and ended up scattered all over town and
on Highway 17. “We were lucky that school was already
out,” said school superintendent Eli Dokson. “That
metal roofing, when airborne, could have hurt somebody badly.”
The school lost its roof in two different sections: on the
southeast side of the building the entire roof was gone except
for one panel; and on the northwest side of the building where
the gymnasium is located. The gym lost about a quarter of
its roof in the storm—but then about a week later most
of the remaining damaged roof also came down when a second
wind storm hit. The building also suffered damage to roof
vents and pipes leading to the roof, and to some play equipment
in the playground. One car was reported damaged after being
hit by a piece of the flying roof. Damage to the school is
estimate at $50,000.
Most of the other damage was to several trees being uprooted,
including a very old weeping willow in Moffat. Another report
told of a pickup truck that was pulling an empty horse trailer
and was blown off the road on Highway 17.
The storm also knocked out power in Crestone, and lightning
from the storm shorted out the solar panel that relays info
from the anemometer on my home’s weather station—which
is one of Crestone’s two official weather stations.
Our other weather station in town doesn’t have an anemometer.
With that being the case, we have no way of knowing for sure
the speed of the wind gusts with the storm, other than the
reading taken just outside of Crestone at the Charter School,
where the Weather Bug recorded its peak gust at 51 MPH. This
was a true dust/sand windstorm, as only a few reported some
drizzle with it.
This eastward traveling storm may have been part of the storm
cells that caused tornado warnings in Pueblo, Colorado. That
same afternoon, as a series of thunderstorms moved across
the state, Denver was under a tornado warning and experienced
heavy rain and flooding.