Authorities still assessing damage caused by eastern Plains tornadoes

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WRAY, Colo. -- The National Weather Service investigated 15 reports of tornadoes across the eastern Plains on Sunday. But nowhere was the damage worse than in Wray.

The wicked weather injured five people, and damaged three homes and a business. Several tornadoes hit the town of nearly 3,000 about 2 1/2 hours east of Denver on Saturday.

But the one that caused the most damage was a half-mile wide and ran six miles north along Highway 385 and County Road 37.

“There’s a big hole here and a big hole on the back side, and shingles are pretty much all gone,” homeowner Mary Stevens said about her roof.

Her home stood in the path of a severe spring storm that turned violent.

“It got bigger and bigger. It kept moving this way,” Stevens said as she and her daughter stared out their window and the force of nature. "It got fairly close and I said, 'We'd better move. It's coming."

The twister blew a shed on its side, destroying a two-car garage, breaking out windows in three of vehicles and ripping out trees from their roots.

“There were 40 power lines that were either damaged or down, ” Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day said.

Up the road, the swirl of dust and debris took out power lines, which crews spent the Sunday restoring. The twister also damaged two other homes and an automotive shop called Slick Spot. Its service truck was upended and destroyed. A garage door was curled up like a sardine can.

“The power went out. It went out about six different times. So we came outside and there was a tornado in the neighbor’s yard," Rebecca Poteet said.

Poteet, 16, pulled out her cellphone and captured amazing video of the frightening funnel.

“I was just standing there taking pictures and videos," she said. "And grandma is yelling me at me, I need to go inside."

Luckily, no one was seriously injured. But the community still taking seriously the aftermath.

“The thing I would point out is what you see along the highway this morning, it’s obvious this is a close-knit community and people  started to immediately jump in to help,” Day said.

The National Weather Service said three to five tornadoes hit the Wray area. It said Sunday night that the tornadoes added up to an EF-2 rating, reaching peak wind speeds of 115-120 mph.

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