May snowstorm packs a punch for trees and power lines in Larimer County

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Heavy, wet snowfall sent snapped tree limbs into power lines in Fort Collins Wednesday, causing power outages.

The city's Forestry Department employees spent the day clearing large tree limbs from roadways and sidewalks.

City Forester Tim Buchanan said the snow came fast and furious overnight and stuck to the branches. Crews were out early Wednesday clearing College Avenue, near Laurel after a large branch fell blocking the southbound lanes.

"There are limbs that are 18 inches to 20 inches in diameter," Buchanan said.

A huge cottonwood branch crashed into Karen Lowe's backyard fence on East Horsetooth Road near South Lemay Avenue. Lowe said she didn't see the branch at first, but her daughter immediately spotted it.

The branch fell right on top of her fence and halfway into her yard. The city removed the limb since the tree was on city property, but Lowe has to repair her fence.

 "It's just typical Colorado. What are you going to do," Lowe said.

The heavy snow also knocked a phone line down in northern Larimer County. At the peak, 6,400 Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association customers lost power. Poudre and Thompson school districts in Fort Collins and Loveland closed for the day.

Nolan Doesken, a climatologist at Colorado State University's Climate Center, said after Wednesday's snowfall, this April ranks in the top five for snowfall in Fort Collins during the last 125 years.

The average snowfall per season in the area is 55 inches. This season, the snowfall is at 75 inches and 40 inches of that fell in the last three weeks, Doesken said.

Read 7 Tips for Snow-Damaged Trees.

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