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Live storm blog: High wind warning will go back in effect for Colorado Springs tonight

January 10, 2017 Updated: January 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm
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City crews remove a fallen ash tree Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, from the top of a Subaru Outback parked along E. Kiowa Street. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Click here for a list of closings and delays due to weather.

- Click here for live traffic and road updates.

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Update 6:24 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Pueblo again issued a high wind warning for areas including El Paso, Pueblo and Teller counties.

The warning is expected to be in place until 12 p.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday night in Colorado Springs is expected to be "very windy," with gusts of up to 60 mph and a 10-20 mph southwest wind becoming a 35-45 mph west wind, according to the weather service.

Wednesday's winds are expected to be slower, with a 25-35 mph wind decreasing to 15-25 mph during the day, according to the weather service. Wind gusts may reach 45 mph. At night, winds are expected to decrease to 10-15 mph.

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Update 4:35 p.m.

Colorado Springs Utilities reported 238 active power outages that were affecting 2,258 customers about 4:15 p.m.

Just after 1 p.m., Utilities reported 233 outages affecting 2,614 customers.

"Outage numbers fluctuate as crews assess damage," according to a Utilities tweet. "Crews will work through night."

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Update 3:45 p.m.

The southern and northern parts of El Paso County, including Colorado Springs, will be under a high wind warning from 9 p.m. Tuesday to noon Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

During this period, the weather service said, westerly winds will be gusting between 3o to 50 mph and 60 to 80 mph. Areas west of Interstate 25 will likely have the greatest impact, the weather service said.

"A Pacific jet stream will force strong winds down the east slopes of the mountains overnight into early Wednesday," the weather service reported.

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Update 3 p.m.

The westbound lanes of Vermijo Avenue between Tejon Street and Cascade will be closed Wednesday to allow repairs to the South Tower of the El Paso County courthouse in downtown Colorado Springs, county officials said.

The complex reopened noon Tuesday after emergency closure Monday, when violent winds tore part of the South Tower roof, officials said. The repairs are expected to cost about $24,000.

The county's public executive director, Jim Reid, told county commissioners that he "expects the number to increase significantly as the final damage assessment is completed because there is also substantial damage to heating, cooling, electrical and communications equipment and it is not yet known how much of that equipment can be repaired and how much will have to be replaced," officials said in a statement.

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Update 2:32 p.m.

Colorado Springs Utilities reported that the number of costumers without power is down to 2,614 amid 233 outages.

Earlier, nearly 3,000 customers were affected.

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Update 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday's wind gusts across the Pikes Peak region are strong, but not as strong as Monday's, Gazette news partner KKTV reported.

As of noon Tuesday, KKTV reported, Colorado Springs had 51 mph wind gusts -- followed by 44 mph at Air Force Academy, 43 mph at Fort Carson, 25 mph in Falcon and 22 mph in Woodland Park.

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Update 12:30 p.m.

The Marian House soup kitchen lost at least $5,000 worth of food after a power outage that last about 24 hours, said Rochelle Schlorrt, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, which operates the facility.

The power came back on about 10 a.m. Tuesday, she added. The outage was caused by Monday's wild winds across the Pikes Peak region.

The soup kitchen will continue to pass out sack lunches of butter peanut and jelly sandwiches, fresh fruit and a bottle water until 1 p.m. Tuesday and during the meal serving hours of 10:30 a.m.-1: p.m. Wednesday.

Schlorrt said the facility expects to serve hot meals again Thursday.

Marian House employees and volunteers cleaned out five large fridges of food and are transporting any usable frozen food to a storage facility, Schlorrt said. The facility lost most of its dairy products and produce, she added.

A pig farmer is expected to pick up some of the spoiled food to feed his pigs, Schlorrt said.

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Update 11:30 a.m.

A strong wind watch will go into effect 2 p.m. Tuesday for Teller County and the Rampart Range, including Pikes Peak, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

The advisory is expected to last until late Tuesday.

Winds are expected to whip between 30 to 50 mph in the area during this time period, with gusting between 60 and 80 mph, the weather service said.

The Colorado Springs Airport -- the city's official observation site -- recorded 30 mph winds, with gusting at 40 mph, on Tuesday morning, said Kyle Mozley, a weather service meteorologist.

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Update 10:38 a.m.

The number of customers still without power is gradually becoming smaller, Colorado Springs Utilities reported.

The company said in a tweet that 228 outages have been reported, affecting 2,979 customers. That is down from 4,224 customers, the previous estimation early Tuesday morning.

"Slowly making progress," Utilities said in a tweet just before 10:30 a.m. "More crews have arrived and are ready to roll out into the field shortly."

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Update 10:30 a.m.

Monday's wild winds knocked about 10 percent of the connection for CenturyLink users, said Brandon Yergey, a company spokesman. The outage lasted for about 10 hours, he added.

Most of the affected locations were downtown Colorado Springs and the city's south side, Yergey said.

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Update: 9:30 a.m.

The El Paso County courthouse in downtown Colorado Springs is scheduled to reopen noon Tuesday.

Large sections of the South Tower roof were blown off Monday morning by hurricane force winds, prompting officials to close the courthouse for the day while crews worked on repairing the damage. A communications antenna was also toppled during the powerful storm.

Jurors are asked to report to the courthouse at 1 p.m.

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Update: 9:20 a.m.

Like many other places across the Pikes Peak region, the Colorado Springs Police Department stations are still recovering from Monday's powerful winds.

A handful of police vehicles at the Gold Hill and Sand Creek substations and the Police Operations Center were damaged, which included broken windshields. A light pole was knocked down at the Falcon substation. At the Police Operations Center, a spruce tree was uprooted.

Also at Gold Hill, a garage bay door was knocked down.

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Update: 8:37 a.m.

Power has been completely restored in Fountain on Tuesday morning, the city's utilities company said in a Facebook post. However, crews will continue to clean downed power lines and other damages caused by Monday's violent wind gusts.

"We are working on a priority list and case by case basis at this time," the post reads. "For your safety, we ask that you wait for electric crews to clear your electric lines of any fallen limbs or call to schedule a shut down so these operations can be done safely."

Fountain Utilities can be reached at 322-2010.

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Update: 8:15 a.m.

Avalanche control is possible on all mountain passes throughout the state Tuesday, Colorado Department of Transportation tweeted. 

Many roads and passes already are shutdown, including Highway 50, Vail Pass, Colorado 145 at Lizard Head Pass, U.S. 40 Berthoud Pass and U.S. 6 Loveland Pass, CDOT said.

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Update: 8:06 a.m.

Monarch Mountain got plenty of snow overnight, but closed roads mean the ski resort also is closed Tuesday.

The Colorado Department of Transportation closed Highway 50 Monday night for avalanche mitigation, but the road still is not passable for Monarch Mountain employees or visitors, according to the ski resort's Twitter page.

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Update: 7 a.m.

Interstate 70 on Vail Pass is closed Tuesday from MM 176 to 195 because of snow slide, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

"Expect lengthy closure," CDOT said on Twitter.

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Update: 6:56 a.m.

Traffic signals remained dark  in parts of downtown Colorado Springs, especially on North Cascade Avenue and in both directions on Bijou Street. Intersections with dark signals should be treated as 4-way stops, city traffic agencies warned.

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Update: 6:43 a.m.

Mountains and higher elevations in El Paso County and Teller County are under a high wind watch until 5 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo. Wind gusts between 60 and 80 mph are possible, the service said.

Colorado Springs remains calmer Tuesday morning with winds gusting into the 20s, well below Monday's force, according to Gazette news partner KKTV.

Damage control and cleanup remains central Tuesday.

The Colorado Springs Utilities reported 4,224 customers still without power across the city with no estimate for restoration. Calmer winds are needed before workers can be sent up poles and in bucket trucks to fix damage, the utilities company said on Twitter.

"Hopefully the winds calm down and don't create more issue today," the utilities company tweeted. 

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Tuesday will be breezy, but won't come close to Monday's violent wind gusts.

"Tuesday and Wednesday will both be windy, especially the closer to the mountains you live," Gazette news partner KKTV reported. "Gusts may approach 50-60 (mph) at times, but likely won't be as widespread or as strong as Monday."

Up to 45 mph gusts may be seen overnight Monday in Colorado Springs, along with 15-20 mph sustained winds and a low temperature of 36 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

The weather service predicted gusts of up to 30 mph Tuesday, with 10-15 mph sustained winds early in the day and 15-20 mph sustained winds in the afternoon.

Like Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday's temperatures will be above average.

The weather service predicted highs of 52 degrees Tuesday, 55 degrees Wednesday and 42 degrees Thursday.

On average, a January day in Colorado Springs has a high of 43 degrees, according to weather service data.

On Monday, strong winds caused damage, closed buildings and impacted travel across the Colorado Springs area.

An all-time record was set at the Colorado Springs Airport with a wind gust of 80 mph.

Elsewhere in the area, even stronger gusts were recorded - 103 mph in Security, 101 at Cheyenne Mountain and 99 mph in Manitou Springs, according to Brian Bledsoe, KKTV chief meteorologist.

But by nighttime, the winds were dying down.

A high wind warning, previously extended by the National Weather Service in Pueblo from 5 to 8 p.m., was lifted half an hour early at 7:30 p.m.

It was lifted because winds fell below the criteria for a warning, said meteorologist Bill Line, which calls for gusts greater than 58 mph and sustained winds greater than 40 mph.

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

Facebook: Ellie Mulder

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The Gazette's Chhun Sun contributed to this report.

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