Possible microburst seriously damages home in Greeley

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Greeley Microburst

Photo courtesy Greeley Fire. May 1, 2012.

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GREELEY, Colo. – Neighbors first thought it was an explosion. Firefighters guessed it was a microburst.

But the National Weather Service still doesn’t know what tore the roof off a home in Greeley Tuesday.

It happened at 2405 49th Ave. Ct. west of town about 2:00 p.m.

“I didn’t notice any wind,” says neighbor Robyn Chapman.

“It was a little cloudy, looking like maybe some thunderstorms. But other than that nothing,” says Greeley firefighter Dale Lymon.

So when Art Pendergraft’s new roof splintered, neighbors didn’t suspect the weather.

“Vehicle came tearing up (to the fire station) and said, ‘You hear the explosion?’ They (firefighters) were like, ‘No,’” says Lymon.

Firefighters determined it wasn’t a gas leak. They suspect a microburst.

“I was on my way home from work, came around the corner when I turned, saw the roof was kind of flopped over on itself,” says Andrew Pendergraft, Art’s son.

He marvels at how the abusive air shredded a roof rated to withstand 130 mile-an-hour winds, but didn’t damage a single window.

“They didn’t break. That was what kind of surprised me there is, they didn’t break,”  he says.

The gust also didn’t touch the roof’s satellite dish, a single log in a woodpile, a BBQ grill, power lines, or any neighbor’s property.

“How did that happen in that amount of time and that concentrated? It didn’t bend a bush in our backyard or lift the hot tub cover nothing. It was just poom,” says Chapman.

But roof remains did ricochet into the road, and this neighbor’s yard about 100 yards away.

“It sounded like a loud pop…and looked out the window and there’s parts of this gentleman’s roof on our yard,” says neighbor Kari Taylor.

She’s just grateful she and her two daughters weren’t playing outside at the time.

“I’ve been with the fire department for 26 years and I have never seen anything like this, this isolated. It’s very strange,” says Lymon.

Lymon also says Greeley Fire responded to not a single other similar call Tuesday.

The National Weather Service told us they didn’t see any wind gusts or anything that points to a microburst, but they can’t rule it out for sure.

Pinpoint Weather chief meteorologist Dave Fraser says microbursts occur when thunderstorms collapse, sending a focused blast of air rushing first to the ground, and then sideways.

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