Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day has confirmed that several tornadoes touched down north of Wray this evening, one of them causing minor injuries to five people. There is no information yet regarding how extensive damages may be from the series of tornadoes that passed through the area, as emergency personnel are still out assessing the situation. Day is asking that residents not travel on Highway 385 north out of Wray as it is currently closed due to downed fences and livestock are loose.
The tornado responsible for the reported injuries touched down north of Wray at approximately 6 p.m. near Highway 385 at County Road 37, within a mile of the city limits of Wray. Initial reports indicate the tornado followed Hwy. 385 north to County Road 42 where it began curving toward the northeast. It is at this location where the damage appears to be heaviest and where the reported injuries occurred. The path of the tornado suggests it measured approximately one-half mile wide and six miles long.
Day said that power has been shut off to the affected areas and emergency personnel are out in the field assessing damages and ensuring there are no further victims. Emergency Operations staff are continuing to monitor the weather, and emergency responders will continue to assess the areas as they are deemed safe to enter. If you have damages or are injured call 911. Further updates will be provided as new information is available.
UPDATE (as of 5/7/16 @ 10:00 PM): According to Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day, Highway 385 north out of Wray is now open to traffic, but significant damage to four structures from tonight’s tornado has been reported. They include three residences and one business, all located near Highway 385, between County Roads 37 and 40. In addition, the five individuals who received minor injuries in that same area have all been treated at Wray Community Hospital and released.
YW Electric’s most recent damage assessment indicated 40 down or damaged poles as a result of the storm, which they say will be fixed sometime tomorrow. Despite that, crews anticipate having power restored to the affected area of the county within the hour. This does not include the damaged structures, those will remain without power until further notice.
Sheriff Day says that deputies will continue conducting assessments of the damage and coordinating with other first-responders overnight. Additionally, deputies will be conducting overnight security at the affected residences and businesses in order to proactively quell any would-be looters and thieves.
Tonight’s tornado touched down at the north edge of the City of Wray and followed a northerly direction for six miles. The path of the tornado suggests it measured approximately one-half mile wide.
As the severe weather has passed out of the area local law enforcement will remain in the field tonight as they help roundup loose livestock and provide overnight security in the areas receiving the most damage.