NATIONAL NEWS

Heavy equipment, snow shovels used to clean up hail piled knee-deep in small Colorado city

May 21, 2024, 1:16 PM

DENVER (AP) — Residents in a small city in northeastern Colorado were cleaning up Tuesday after hail the size of baseballs and golf balls pounded the community, with heavy construction equipment and snow shovels being used to clear ice that piled up knee-deep the night before.

Monday night’s storm in Yuma shattered vehicle windshields, pounded the siding off buildings and broke many windows. lt also brought heavy rain to the city of about 3,500 people about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Nebraska, stranding some cars in the streets.

Schools were closed in Yuma on Tuesday as the cleanup continued. Residents also were clearing fallen tree branches from the storm.

The hail was still about a half-foot deep (1.83 meters deep) on Tuesday morning and front-end loaders were used to move it, said Curtis Glenn, a trustee at Yuma Methodist Church, which had flooding and hail damage.

On Monday night, hailstones piled up in doorways, making it impossible to open them and creating dams that pushed rainwater into buildings, he said.

Stained glass windows on the west side of the church, in the direct path of the storm, were shattered, allowing rain inside in addition to dammed stormwater forced into the building, Glenn said. Church members worked to move the altar, Bibles and hymnals away from the broken windows to a safer spot, he said.

Glenn, an insurance claims adjuster, was alerted to rain and water entering the church shortly after he managed to drive his family from his daughter’s dance recital in the nearby town of Eckley despite a shattered windshield and hail dents “big enough to put a fist in.”

Glenn said the combined sounds of the hail, rain and wind sounded like “a gun going off while you’re on a train.”

“It’s not something you ever want to see or ever want to see again,” he said of the storm, the worst he has seen in his years working in the insurance industry.

There were at least two reports of hail up to 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) in diameter, the size of softballs, near Yuma and the nearby town of Akron, according to the National Weather Service. Most of the hail reported in the area ranged from egg-sized to baseball and golf ball-sized stones.

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