Thunderstorm rips through Rifle |

Thunderstorm rips through Rifle

Carrie ClickWestern Garfield County Bureau Editor

RIFLE – An intense thunderstorm that began about 5 p.m. in western Garfield County Wednesday resulted in electric outages, vehicle accidents, and lightning strikes. At least one power pole in the area was reported on fire as a result of a lightning strike, according to Garfield County dispatch reports. An accident was reported on Interstate 70 at mile marker 91 near Rifle during the storm, although no additional information was available, according to Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority. High winds caused huge raindrops to blow sideways through the Rifle area during the storm, which lasted about an hour. Garfield County Dispatch reported that as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, power was out in portions of Silt Mesa. At that time, there was no indication when power might be restored. The National Weather Service Forecast office in Grand Junction issued a Red Flag warning from noon to midnight Wednesday. The office forecasted dry lightning and gusty winds below 8,000 feet for portions of northwest and central Colorado. Dry afternoon thunderstorms are expected through the next several days as moisture continues to accumulate around an upper level ridge over the western U.S., according to the NWS’s Grand Junction office. These storms will likely include brief rainfall, gusty winds and frequent cloud-to-ground lightning. Temperatures are expected to remain above the seasonal average through the end of the week, according to the NWS.

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