Weather

Broken windshields and a flooded mall

Spring hailstorm hits Jefferson County hard

Hail falling on north Golden on May 8, 2017.
Glenn Wallace
Posted

Steph Burnett of Green Mountain said she was shopping in the Colorado Mills Target on May 8 with her five-year-old daughter when the hail struck.

"We just stood there watching car windows explode until it stopped," Burnett said.

The hail storm that swepth through much of the Denver metro area about 3 p.m. on May 8 caused widespread damage, particularly in Jefferson County. The National Weather Service reports nearly three inches of hail fell near Lutheran Hospital in Wheat Ridge during the brief storm.

West Metro Fire and Rescue responded to about six traffic accidents that occurred during the worst of the storm, said Ronda Scholting, communications and media relations specialist with West Metro.

"There were a few people who reported injuries from getting caught in the hail, but they were pretty minor," she added. "The north west part of the district and Colfax seemed to have gotten pretty badly hit."

Dozens of residents and shoppers in the Lakewood and Wheat Ridge area posted photos on social media of vehicle damage. Some area powerlines were also downed during the storm.

The Colorado Mills mall was closed Tuesday afternoon during the hail storm, after roof damage and shattered skylights, followed by considerable rain in the days that followed, forced the indefinite closure of the mall. Water damage vans were seen working inside the mall the rest of the week. Although the Target store has since reopened, the rest of the mall has remained closed, as of Friday. The mall's website said the mall would not reopen until May 15.

Burnett said her own windshield, destroyed in the storm, has already been replaced, but the car is so dented it may be considered totalled for insurance purposes. She said the bigger problem in the storm's aftermath is how bad it frightened her child.

"She woke up this morning (May 10) from the thunderstorm crying and worried it was going to start hailing again," Burnett said.

Employees at the Larry Miller Volkswagen dealership at 8275 West Colfax Ave., said they had 150 car windows broken on their lot by the storm. Similar damage was responded at the Stevenson car dealership lots.

Pickering’s Auto Service in Lakewood focuses on auto-repair work, as opposed to body work, but that hasn't stopped their call volume from increasing after the storm, said Taylor Pickering, marketing director with the shop.

"Because of the storm, we're working with a mobile dent repair company to provide that to our customers," she added. "The will be setting up in our parking lot to help people."

Stacie Oulton, Lakewood's public information officer, said the Denver West area was also particularly hard-hit during the storm.

Lakewood crews deployed plows to help clear the hail, and while there was some standing water in spots, there was no major flooding, Oulton said.

"The scariest part for many was having the hail break their car windows while they were in the car," she said. "When these kinds of storms happen, people should try to get inside a building, not just a car."

The Secrest Youth and Teen Center, located at 6820 W. 66th Ave. in Arvada, sustained major damage to the roof, causing the skylight to break and the gym to flood. The gym is closed indefinitely, and all programs have been moved or cancelled.

First Judicial District Attorney Pete Weir advised homeowners to use caution as they begin making decisions about home repair projects. Regardless of the urgency consumers feel to get started with repairs, it is best not to enter into a contract or agreement lightly.

"Consumers should not feel rushed or pressured,” said Weir, “If they do then it’s a good time to end the conversation.”

Lakewood's Mayor Adam Paul also warned residents about people trying to scam them for money.

“Taking the time you need to do your homework so that you can make an informed decision, before you enter into a contract is the best way to protect yourself from becoming the victim of fraud,” said Weir, “Keep in mind that if the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

The District Attorney’s website provides a comprehensive list of tips to help consumers make informed decisions and protect themselves from becoming a crime victim, as well as a victim of spring storms.

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