Denver storm
© Joe Amon, The Denver PostMichelle Ziporin holds daughter Emily, 2, as she and husband Eric await an evaluation of damage to their Lakewood home.

The storm that spawned two tornadoes, uprooted trees, damaged vehicles and downed power lines in the Denver area Monday night may not get in the record books.

But it was a doozy.

"We have had storms where we lost some branches, but I never have seen anything like this, and I have been here since 1955," said Mary Stephens, who had to shovel hail away from a sliding door at her Wheat Ridge home.

Arvada, Lakewood, Englewood and Wheat Ridge were hardest hit, said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

Tornado sirens blasted in some areas as a line of severe thunderstorms bore down on Denver's western suburbs.

Lakewood officials decided not to trigger the alarms because no tornadoes or funnel clouds were nearby, police spokesman Steve Davis said.

"Today, looking over the extent of the damage from the storm, the feeling is we wish we would have set them off," he said.

Sirens blared in Englewood, but in Arvada there is no outdoor warning system.

"We opted to go with the option of not utilizing sirens, and instead using the media, the emergency alert system and coordinating closely with the National Weather Service and their broadcast warnings," said Arvada police spokeswoman Susan Medina.

Along West 32nd Avenue off Kipling Street, reminders of the storm were everywhere Tuesday morning: thick drifts of hail, shredded leaves, uprooted trees and downed limbs jutting from lawns.

At the 58-unit Village West Apartments on West 59th Avenue in Arvada, the storm knocked out 56 windows and ripped apart Venetian blinds, said manager Barbara Day.

About 100 windows blew out of the Kipling Village apartment complex at 4551 Kipling St., as well, said Wheat Ridge police spokeswoman Lisa Stigall.

In some areas, hail the size of golf balls pounded roofs and vehicles, Walker said. "One good part is that it was in the middle of the night - more cars were parked in garages."
Denver storm
© Aaron Montoya, The Denver PostA Starbucks coffee-shop sign is among casualties of the hail and wind the storm brought to Lakewood.

More than 90,000 Xcel Energy customers lost power. About 17,000 were still without power Tuesday evening, said the utility's spokesman, Tom Henley. About 80 percent of those customers should have power by this morning and the rest by the end of today, he said. Crews were to be working through the night to restore power.

At least 40 Jefferson County schools and district buildings were damaged, and repairs are expected to run $500,000.

Although Walker said it is too early to estimate how much damage the storm left behind, by noon Tuesday, State Farm had logged more than 1,100 auto claims and more than 1,800 home owner claims.
Denver storm
© John Prieto, The Denver PostIn Lakewood, the storm damaged a scoreboard at the Jefferson County Stadium, bending metal light cups.

Alpine Buick Pontiac GMC estimated damage to vehicles in its lot at South Wadsworth Boulevard south of West Hampden Avenue at $1 million.

The storm dropped about an inch of rain in less than 30 minutes, and spawned two tornadoes that touched down briefly south of Castle Rock and in Englewood, though neither caused significant damage, said Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kalina. But the storm carried winds that reached 80 mph.

"For wind and hail damage, this would have to be the strongest storm this year in the metro area," Kalina said.