102 mph wind recorded in Akron overnight; significant damage reported

A burst of exceptionally strong winds ripped through the Eastern Plains late on Monday night into early Tuesday morning, leading to significant damage in the town of Akron.

Estimated winds in excess of 100 mph followed a highly-localized band of storms that moved through the area in northeast Colorado. The National Weather Service office in Boulder confirmed that a 102-mph wind gust moved through the town of Akron shortly before 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

The winds led to several reports of significant damage in the small town of about 2,000 people. A water resources specialist who experienced the storm called Tuesday’s storm “the most insane wind ever” on Twitter.

The severe wind was part of a narrow but powerful line of storms that moved quickly from south to north overnight Monday into Tuesday.

Colorado state climatologist Russ Schumacher captured the line of storms on a radar loop. In the radar animation below, note a brief but clear burst of dark red coloring and the appearance of an archer’s bow as the storm approached Akron (approximately in the middle in the map below), a classic meteorological signal of exceptionally strong winds.

Within those lines, a microburst may well have taken place, adding an extra jolt to the already strong winds that were howling along the line of storms.

A microburst is a narrow push of wind within a storm, usually two miles or less in size, that can create hyper-local wind damage. When they’re focused over a populated area, microbursts can greatly enhance wind damage for a specific location.

During the overnight event in Akron, gusty winds were consistently coming out of the north, before they suddenly shifted to out the south. A stark wind shift like that is a likely indicator that a microburst was responsible for the sudden acceleration in wind speed.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no power outages were reported in Akron, according to outage tracking website PowerOutage.us.

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