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Colorado growers spared wrath of storm

by Lora Abcarian | July 23, 2009
Agricultural producers in northeast Colorado weathered a powerful thunderstorm that slammed into the suburbs of Denver Monday, July 20. It has been unusually wet in Colorado this year, and monsoon-like thunderstorms have spawned tornados and put residents on high alert since May.

Alan Kinoshita, sales manager for Fagerberg Produce in Eaton, CO, said that the company was gearing up for onion clipping when the storm struck Monday morning.

"We got close to two inches of rain," he told The Produce News. "The onions will be fine. It will set clipping back a few days."

Fortunately, the crop did not sustain any hail or wind damage associated with the storm, he said.

The front pushed into Colorado quickly, with the center of its fury focused in the towns of Wheat Ridge, Arvada and Lakewood. The powerful storm knocked out power to 50,000 homes serviced by Xcel Energy, and workers were tackling the blackout on Tuesday to restore service as quickly as possible. Trees were uprooted, some landing on power lines. Debris was strewn in the storm's path, and homeowners also saw shattered windows. A weak tornado touchdown occurred in Wheat Ridge.

Mr. Kinoshita said that 2009 has been a problematic year for weather. "It's just day to day," he said of efforts to monitor storm activity.