Mar 202003
Authors: Patrick Crossland

Fort Collins saw its worst snowstorm in nearly a century, producing between 20 to 32 inches.

The heavy snow caused many roofs to collapse, halting business and sending some homeowners to shelters.

The majority of the emergencies the Poudre Fire Authority responded to were the result of collapsed roofs in the area and were of varying degrees of severity, said Ron Uthmann, fire chief at the Poudre Fire Authority.

The extremely heavy snow caused over 60 collapsed roofs, Uthmann said.

“We’re still dealing with it,” he said. “Once we’re in the recovery phase we’ll be able to assess the damages better.”

Flat roofed structures have been the most frequent to collapse, he said.

Individuals can protect themselves by listening for creaking and looking for cracks in the structure. If unsure about the stability of the structure, Uthmann suggested home or business owners contact the building department or a structural engineer.

The Red Cross has aided stranded travelers and those who are homeless as a result of structural damage by providing shelter.

Shelter was provided in Wellington for those stranded when North I-25 was closed, said Kim Schleppy, an after-hours volunteer. Twenty-two individuals, including four children stayed at the Red Cross shelter.

A shelter was located at Lesher Junior High School but was closed Thursday morning, as it was no longer needed.

The Red Cross works with the Poudre R-1 District and with venders so that emergency preparations are made ahead of time. Two local high schools have trailers nearby equipped with supplies such as blankets and medical provisions.

In cases where 12 or more individuals are in need of shelter, a facility such as a school will provide temporary food and shelter to those in need.

The Poudre Valley Hospital experienced difficulty getting staff into the facility, said Carol Thailand an administrative coordinator for PVH.

The Larimer County Four-Wheel Drive Club provided volunteer service, commuting hospital workers to and from work throughout the duration of the storm.

Brett Newton, the club’s president said the team is on an emergency call list and provides volunteer service in emergencies such as forest fires, floods and snowstorms.

Several individuals out of the 12-member team transported approximately 90 staff members to and from work, running throughout the night.

Postal workers have continued to provide service to accessible areas following the blizzard. Some streets remain unplowed and, in the instance that mailboxes are blocked or inaccessible, carriers consider safety and accessibility first.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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