Fast-moving storm hits Colorado


A snow storm that ripped quickly through Colorado left dozens of boaters stranded at a southern Colorado reservoir, thousands of people without electricity and trees uprooted by strong gusts or broken by wet, heavy snow.

The quick-moving cold front roared into northern Colorado late Sunday afternoon, sending temperatures plunging from the mid-70s to the 30s in less than an hour. People dressed for summer, in shorts and T-shirts, were soaked by wind-driven rain and then snow in th Denver metro area.

Flights were diverted from Denver International Airport to the Colorado Springs and Grand Junction airports.

Winds up to 70 mph toppled boats at the Pueblo Reservoir and stranded people in coves and on islands. Authorities said as many as 100 boats were in the water when the storm struck at about 6 p.m.

"It was 80 degrees earlier and it's now snowing," said Phil Daniels, spokesman for the Pueblo County sheriff's office.

Rescue teams worked until 2:30 a.m., when they found the last two people unaccounted for. A sheriff's spokeswoman said Monday minor injuries were reported. Many people were treated for hypothermia.

About 32,000 Xcel Energy customers in the Denver area and in Weld County were without power at the height of the storm. Crews restored power to the main distribution lines by Sunday night, but about 5,000 people still didn't have electricity early Monday.

Crews worked through the night to restore electricity, and Xcel expected to get everyone hooked up again by Monday afternoon, Stutz said.

The storm that dumped several inches of snow in the foothills and rain and hail on the eastern plains also uprooted trees, toppled poles and whipsawed power lines.

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