Thursday May 22, 2008 was a chaotic day for most of us here at the station. Thursday is one out of the two days a week I come down to the station for my internship. Last Thursday was not one of the usual days. I was at home getting ready to leave from Greeley when a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Greeley. Soon after the severe thunderstorm warning the warning turned into a tornado warning. Just as fast as the tornado warning was issued the NWS upgraded the warning to a high threat warning! I knew it was going to be one hell of a trip down to Denver that morning, and was it ever!
I live on the west side of Greeley about 5 miles from highway 34. I am driving and noticing the dark low lying clouds to the west. As I got even closer I notice the clouds were still rotating! I am about 1 mile from highway 34 when I notice all of the power lines down and the dairy farm to the west of my position completely destroyed. I knew this had to be tornado damage and I had to have just missed it. Police closed down the road and informed me that highway 85 was closed and they had just closed 34. How was I going to get to I-25?
I decided to try and head north and catch a westbound highway that would eventually throw me onto I-25. Well after about 7 minutes of driving I ended up in the middle of Windsor. I could not believe it! I had accidentally stumbled upon more tornado damage and I had to have arrived minutes after the tornado had hit. People were still stumbling about. I asked a couple standing at the bottom of their driveway if they needed help. They confirmed for me that it was a tornado, and I made a call to 7News to notify them. Luckily I had my camera in my car, I began to take pictures.
The sight was unbelievable! So much destruction. I was pretty much stuck in Windsor due to all the traffic trying to get in and out, not to mention all of the help trying to get to people injured or still trapped. I was calling a manager at work who I knew lived in Windsor to see if she needed help. Her house was hit and was marked as unlivable. After many attempts to get a hold of her, and with no luck, I managed to get back home and upload my pictures to send to Mike in the weather center. He showed them on the news in the 6 o'clock and the 10 o'clock.
It was a day that I will never forget and an experience that I have never had before. For all the people who were impacted by the deadly tornadoes that day, you are all in my thoughts and prayers!