DENVER – We’re expecting hurricane-force wind gusts into this afternoon along the foothills and on the eastern plains as a strong storm system moves across Colorado.
High wind warnings are in effect until 5 p.m. from the foothills east to the Kansas and Nebraska borders for nearly every county on the eastern half of the state.
In the mountains, winter weather advisories are in effect for 3-109 inches of snow and winds that could gust as high as 75 miles per hour above tree line in the central and northern mountains and up to 95 miles per hour in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Red flag warnings are also in effect for most of the eastern half of the state because of the 40-50 mile-per-hour sustained winds that could gust up to 85 miles per hour, along with relative humidity below 20%.
And across most of the plains from the southern border to Wyoming, air quality health advisories are in effect until 8 p.m. because of blowing dust.
Various COVID testing and vaccination sites are closed Wednesday, and RTD says the A Line will run every 30 minutes, with crossing attendants in place, because of the high winds.
Denver International airport had more than 420 flight delays as of 10:45 a.m. Wednesday and more than 120 flights had been canceled. Check your flight status by clicking here.
Below, we’ll have live updates throughout Wednesday as the storm makes its way across the state. Refresh the page for the latest developments. (All times Mountain):
9:35 p.m. | Roof partially blown off Golden home
Gusts of about 60 to 70 miles per hour partially blew the roof off of a home in Golden Wednesday shortly before 12 p.m.
Most of the roof fell onto the neighbor's front yard, destroying their fencing. Other parts of the roof, including dozens of pieces of flagstone, blew 30 yards across the street damaging a neighbor's garage and vehicle.
A roofing company assessed the damages of the home. The couple who live there are able to remain at the home, but major repairs are needed.
9:10 p.m. | Xcel to work through the night to restore power
Approximately 31,000 Xcel Energy customers remain without power after the extreme wind Wednesday.
Xcel Energy said they have 450 crews working to get the power back on and will work through the night.
Crews are encountering knocked down power poles, downed tree limbs and other damages to the lines throughout the day. Xcel reminds customers experiencing an outage who have not reported it to contact the company. If anyone encounters a downed line, Xcel says to assume it is energized and dangerous.
8 p.m | Update to Poudre Valley REA outages
Poudre Valley REA reported that as of 7 p.m., approximately 2,600 members remain without power.
Downed lines and trees have been reported, but the utility company said crews are making progress.
7:57 p.m. | Gilpin and El Paso counties open warming centers
A warming center has opened in Gilpin County for anyone without power, according to the Gilpin County Sheriff's Office.
The Justice Center, which is located at 2960 Dory Hill Rd., opened at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and will stay open as needed or until 10 p.m. if no one is utilizing it.
Residents with pets can stay at the pet barn located at 250 Norton Dr. near the Gilpin Community Center. For more information, call (303) 515-4300. \
The Red Cross has also opened a warming center and overnight shelter in El Paso County at the First United Methodist Church located at 420 N. Nevada Ave. in Colorado Springs.
Volunteers are present and will have emergency supplies, food and water. COVID-19 safety measures are also in place.
6:18 p.m. | Denver opens warming center for people without power
A warming center has opened in Denver for people without power and heat Wednesday evening.
The center is located at the St. Charles Recreation Center at 3777 Lafayette St. until 11 p.m. Denver residents can also visit any of the 30 recreation centers in the city during normal business hours.
The City of Denver said it's working with Xcel Energy to monitor the situation closely.
As of 6:15 p.m., the Xcel Energy outage map reports more than 48,000 customers are without power across the state.
DENVER – The Office of Emergency Management has worked with city agencies to open a warming center at the St. Charles Recreation Center, at 3777 Lafayette St., until 11:00PM tonight for residents who are experiencing prolonged power outages and are without heat. The city is working closely with our partners at Xcel Energy as their crews work to restore power and will be monitoring the situation closely. In addition, Denver residents are welcome to visit any of our 30 recreation centers during their normal business hours to seek warmth.
5:22 p.m. | Power outages reported in Red Feather Lakes, Pingree Park area
Poudre Valley REA is reporting a power outage in Red Feather Lakes that's affecting 1,000 members and another outage affecting 100 members in the Pingree Park area.
Crews have been dispatched to Red Feather Lakes to assess the outage.
In the Pingree Park area, crews are also en route to restore power to the area. There are reports of broke poles.
4 p.m. | Updated high wind gusts
As the wind gusts start to wind down this afternoon — the high wind warnings for Colorado expire at 5 p.m. — we’re getting a look at the top gusts of the day. Click here for the full rundown from the National Weather Service.
These were the locations that saw wind gusts above 90 miles per hour in Wednesday’s wind event:
95 mph – 3 NNE White Ranch Open Space – 10:25 a.m.
94 mph – 3 WSW Air Force Academy – 10:51 a.m.
93 mph – 2 WSW Louisville – 11:46 a.m.
92 mph – 6 SSW Colorado Springs – 11:31 a.m.
92 mph – 5 N Colorado Springs – 10:46 a.m.
91 mph – 3 SSW Boulder – 10:00 a.m.
91 mph – 4 SE Air Force Academy – 10:58 a.m.
90 mph – 2 SSE Peterson AFB – 12:18 p.m.
90 mph – 6 SSW Westcliffe – 7:46 a.m.
3:15 p.m. | Latest on Xcel power outages
More than 60,000 Xcel Energy customers remain without power as of 3 p.m. due to the hurricane-force winds across the state, according to their outage map.
Xcel said typically the larger outages will be restored first before crews move to smaller and individual outages. They have increased staffing to respond to the outages.
Xcel customers can report outages in the following ways:
- The Xcel Energy mobile app
- Text "OUT" to 98936 to report, or text "STAT" to the same number to check the status of a power outage
- Call 1-800-895-1999 and follow the prompts
2:28 p.m. | Winds bring down lights inside South Suburban tennis bubble
Video from Julie Heck shows today’s high winds bringing down lights inside the South Suburban tennis bubble in Littleton, which eventually was torn and collapsed. Latest on today's wind: https://t.co/6KIv2utPlZ #cowx pic.twitter.com/p5eTB8UPZL— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) December 15, 2021
2:09 p.m. | Charlie Brown's patio seating damaged in storm
A metal roof that covered the patio seating area outside Charlie Brown's in the Cap Hill neighborhood was damaged in Wednesday's wind storm. The metal roof was thrown into the street and landed on a parked car. The extent of the damage is not known.
1:54 p.m. | Strong winds topple Olde Town Arvada landmark
Wednesday's powerful winds toppled a landmark in Olde Town Arvada. An evergreen tree that served as the Olde Town Christmas tree was lost in Wednesday's wind storm. Crews worked to remove the jagged edges.
1:08 p.m. | Highway 93 back open
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office just reopened Highway 93 in both directions but said high profile vehicles should use extreme caution.
1:06 p.m. | Strongest wind gusts so far
There are high wind warnings and red flag warnings in effect for all of eastern Colorado because of the wind through 5 p.m.
12:48 p.m. | Traffic lights out in Boulder
More than a dozen traffic signals are out in Boulder. The city's signal department is monitoring intersections for these outages. Unless there is a hazard in the area, the Boulder Police Department is asking you to not call 911 about the down traffic signals.
12:36 p.m. | Trees falls on Englewood house
A tree fell on a home along the 4300 block of S. Sherman in Englewood. The tree is blocking the road on S. Lincoln, according to the Denver Fire Department.
Boy it's windy out there! The #DenverfireDepartment is responding to wind events across the @CityofDenver. A tree fell into a home at 4386 S. Sherman in @NewsEnglewoodCO & a tree is blocking the road on S. Lincoln. If you find a downed power line call 9-1-1, Do NOT go near it! pic.twitter.com/gVuBtWHl2q— Denver Fire Department (@Denver_Fire) December 15, 2021
12:34 p.m. | Gusts at Colorado Springs airport
Wind gusts at the airport in Colorado Springs have clocked in at 91 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
12:31 p.m. | Highway 93 closed
Highway 93 is closed in both directions from Highway 72 to Highway 128. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is reporting several downed power lines and a blown over truck.
12:28 p.m. | Several semi's blown over in wind storm
The Colorado State Patrol is reporting that several semi's have blown over amid strong winds. A high profile vehicle travel restriction is in place on I-25 from mile marker 163 to the stateline.
12:25 p.m. | Tumbleweed parade not a welcome sight for Dacono residents
12:08 p.m. | Bus services halted in Pueblo
According to the Pueblo Fire Department, all city bus services will not be available for at least three hours due to weather and downed power lines and trees. Strong winds with gusts up to 80 mph are expected in the area through at least 5 p.m.
12:05 p.m. | Brush fire erupts in Pueblo County amid strong winds
A two-acre brush fire is burning near the 36000 block of Bush Road in eastern Pueblo County. Crews from the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, Rural and Pueblo Chemical Depot fire teams are working to contain the fire. As of 12:39 p.m., fire teams were mopping up the fire. No structures were damaged.
12:00 p.m. | Wind knocks down tree onto Littleton street
Strong winds knocked down a tree and struck a truck on Alamo Avenue in Littleton. The man in the truck was not injured.
11:55 a.m. | High profile vehicles restricted on I-25
The Colorado Department of Transportation issued a high wind warning on Interstate 25 between Buckeye Road (exit 288) and Carr (exit 293) due to strong wind. High profile vehicles are restricted from traveling on this section of I-25 during this time.
Residents of Costilla County in southeastern Colorado are being told to prepare for a long-term power outage after strong winds knocked over multiple power poles that supplies power to customers of San Luis Valley Rural Electric. The Costilla County Office of Emergency Management said the outage may last for a couple of days at the least. Crews are attempting to make repairs.
11:40 a.m. | Not your average wind
Colorado State Trooper Josh Lewis demonstrates why this is not your average wind:
This is not your average wind. This is push-you-out-of-your-lane-knock-your-vehicle-over kind of wind. Be prepared! pic.twitter.com/3YOUQQLRQ7— Colorado State Patrol (@CSP_News) December 15, 2021
11:34 a.m. | Dangerous conditions on Eastern Plains
The National Weather Service is reporting dangerous driving conditions on the Eastern Plains due to blowing dust. The dust cloud is continuing to expand and grow, according to satellite images.
10:43 a.m. | Power flashes along Front Range
The National Weather Service says there have been power bumps reported in the Boulder area, where gusts up to 90 miles per hour have already been reported.
The NWS says the winds will continue to increase and that people should be aware of falling tree limbs, blowing dust that will lead to reduced visibility and other scattered power outages.
10:40 a.m. | I-25 closed to high-profile vehicles in Wyoming
The Wyoming Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 25 in both directions to light, high-profile vehicles because of the high winds.
10:15 a.m. | Highway 287 closure in Baca County
Highway 287 is closed from Springfield to Wiley due to crashes and downed power lines. Colorado State Patrol is telling drivers not to travel in this area.
10:13 a.m. | 91 mph gust at the NCAR Mesa Lab
The National Weather Service says that peak gusts have used 91 mph at the NCAR Mesa Lab and 81 mph at the National Wind Technology Center. Gusts at White Ranch Open Space in Jefferson County have reached 71 mph.
And just like that, peak gusts have now hit 91 mph at the NCAR Mesa Lab, and 81 mph at the National Wind Technology Center! #COwx— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) December 15, 2021
9:40 a.m. | Tree branch disposal after this storm
Several tree branch drop-off sites have been set up for tomorrow through Dec. 22 in anticipation of damage from today’s storm.
Residents can take downed branches to the following locations:
Cherry Creek Transfer Station: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
Barnum North parking lot: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
City Nursery site (Smith Road and Havana, southwest corner): 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday
Most of the branches will be recycled into mulch for city and residential use.