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Wicked winds blow big trucks over in eastern Colorado

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BYERS, Colo. -- Wind gusts whipping the eastern plains of Colorado tossed trucks around like toys Tuesday afternoon. Tractor-trailers along I-70 were no match for Mother Nature.

“Between here and Colby, Kansas we saw eight flipped over,” said Brian Garland. He’s been driving professionally for 24 years.

Big rigs with bent wheels, smashed windshields and personal items just tossed around, were lying along the side of I-70 near Limon.

“We pulled over because even though we weigh enough to make it on through, it was just tiring after six hours of fighting.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation closed US 40 and 287 because of high wind and low visibility. I-70 remained open, however, but with a warning to drivers.

“This is the type of trailer that will get blown over; it’s the high-profile trailer,” explained Rob Parson. He’s been a professional driver for 15 years. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t want to be out there.”

That’s why Ron and Linda Orgis pulled over. Ron explained, “The part of the steering wheel is supposed to be straight across, but I had it quarter of the way turned.”

They’re headed to Colorado Springs to visit family. They say a gust of wind just ripped off the awning on their motor home as they were driving. “That was the longest 14 miles I ever drove,” Ron said.

It’s not only dangerous, but costly.

“It affects everything, especially in fuel consumption because the truck pulls harder going down the road, obviously, because it’s fighting the wind and weight.”

The Colorado State Patrol says the tipped over rigs will be turned upright once the wind dies down. No one was seriously hurt.