AKRON, Colo. (CBS4) – More than 100 miles northeast of downtown Denver a ‘macroburst’ with 102 mph winds blew through the small town of Akron, leaving damage often connected to hurricanes and tornadoes. The National Weather Service sent a researcher out to the town to evaluate the scene which left buildings damaged, planes ripped apart and structures toppled on to semis.
“Just the nature of the storm is pretty unique for the weather pattern going on,” said Greg Hansen of the National Weather Service. “The air flowing out of a thunderstorm rushes down, hits the ground and spreads out.”
Wind speeds in Akron were clocked at more than 80 mph, with a nearby radar picking up wind speeds at more than 102 mph.
“It is hurricane force. It is even the same wind speeds as what you get in a weak tornado, except it is going a straight line instead of spinning,” Hansen said.
As the fire department worked to address toppled trees and downed power lines, others in the community worked to clear streets and houses of debris.
PHOTO GALLERY: 102 MPH Winds Leave Behind Damage In Akron
Samuel Gaona brought his employee Michael Espindola to Akron to volunteer their cleanup services. Gaona operates JNJ Companies and decided to use his machinery and time to help the community clean up.
“There was metal falling on semi-trailers, there are trees on houses, roofs are destroyed,” Gaona told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “As you can see, it is pretty bad.”
An airplane was significantly damaged at the area airport, with a wing completely ripped off from the fuselage. Gaona and Espindola teamed up to clear trees from homes.
“We get the chainsaw, cut some things up, and move it for whoever needs help,” Espindola said.
“At a time like this, it is time for the community to get together and help each other out,” Gaona said.
A radar image from 12:10 a.m. Tuesday shows the stretched out thunderstorm that caused the ‘macroburst’. The storm first developed near Last Chance and raced north across Washington County before reaching Akron.
The wind gust of 102 mph was the strongest wind gust reported in Colorado but there were dozens of reports damaging wind across the Eastern Plains.