This week in local history: ‘Savage’ spring storm rips through area |

This week in local history: ‘Savage’ spring storm rips through area

A savage spring storm that ripped through the area in the spring of 1977 toppled trees, ripped up electric lines "like spaghetti" and stranded motorists who were unprepared for the 12 inches or more of heavy snow that fell.
Sky-Hi file photo

Originally published in the Friday, May 20, 1977 edition of Sky-Hi News.

A severe spring storm hitting the area Saturday and Sunday felled thousands of lodge pole pines and caused “the most extensive storm damage” in the history of Mountain Parks Electric, according to Sam Sampson, general manager.

Electrical failures were reported by Mountain Parks from Coffee Divide North; west of Kremmling to Rabbit Ears Pass; and throughout Jackson County and into Wyoming, which had 26 inches of wet snow.

At the peak of the storm, one-third of the electric system was out, Sampson said. By Monday, only 200-300 customers were out of service and full service was restored Tuesday night. The system covers all of Grand and Jackson counties in Colorado and Albany County in Wyoming, plus parts of Summit, Routt and Larimer counties.

Fifty broken poles were reported throughout the system, Sampson said, and “at the height of the storm, 400-500 trees went through our lines.” In Grand County, Sampson estimated that 30 miles of line were inoperative with 200-300 miles of lines inoperative in Jackson County.

The hardest hit area in Grand County was Columbine Lake where hundreds of pine trees were downed by the weight of 18 inches of wet snow and accompanying winds which buffeted all of Grand County.

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