Grand Valley takes a blow

Three large evergreens uprooted along with their planters lie in a row along Third Street at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church while a Grand Junction firefighter speaks with a worker at the intersection with White Avenue. The trees pulled down a large fiber optic cable when they were blown over Sunday in a windstorm.

Two workers examine the damage to a snapped power pole and its dangling wires south of the Interstate 70 Business Loop and 28 1/2 Road intersection on Sunday. The tangle of damaged power lines caught a coal train and also hung so low across the business loop that law enforcement shut down the road in both directions.

Flames lick through the roof of a house at 623 Grand Ave. as Grand Junction firefighters cut a hole to gain access to the fire Sunday. A tree limb, at bottom, broke off a tree in a neighboring yard during Sunday’s windstorm, pulling down the power lines.

Wind gusts close to 60 mph uprooted trees from Fruita to Clifton Sunday night, caused a house fire downtown and forced police to close some streets temporarily so work crews could repair downed lines and restore power to more than 2,500 people impacted by the storm.

More than 30 power outages caused by gusting winds and falling debris were reported across greater Grand Junction, Xcel Energy reported.

No injuries were reported due to the storm as of Sunday night.

Power outages were clustered along U.S. Highway 6, which follows the same line the thunderstorm took as it passed from northwest to southeast between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., the National Weather Service said.

Property damage was reported in several areas, including a house fire in the 600 block of Grand Avenue.

According to witnesses, the fire appeared to have been caused when a tree fell against a power line, knocking the power line against the house, which caught fire. No official report or damage estimate was immediately available.

A power line also fell across both lanes of Third Street, blocking traffic near the intersection at Chipeta Avenue, according to scanner reports.

Broken branches brought down another power line on Gunnison Avenue between 15th and 16th streets, witnesses reported. 

In all, power outages in 39 clusters impacted 2,521 customers between 6 and 9 p.m., Xcel reported.

A tree that fell against a railroad car on the south side of the city had to be removed by work crews, while tree branches and other debris littered streets in many areas, according to reports.

Only trace precipitation was recorded from the storm by 8 p.m., according to National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, a flood advisory continues for the Gunnison River above Grand Junction, the weather service reported.

“The combination of snowmelt and upstream releases will keep the Gunnison River near to above bankfull conditions through at least the middle of next week,” the weather service reported. “Minor flooding of low lying areas near the river will remain a threat during this time frame.”

At 11 a.m. Sunday, the stage for the Gunnison River was 9.7 feet. Bankfull stage is 8.6 feet. Flood stage is 13 feet. The weather service forecast the river will rise to 9.9 feet by early this morning.


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