Hugo woman rode out storm that destroyed her barn under a mattress in the bathtub

Straight line winds caused the damage, NWS says

HUGO, Colo. - Jennie Hoefler's plans for a relaxing evening were blown far off course Wednesday night.

"I was going to take a shower and I heard the wind and a friend called me and said, 'You're under a tornado watch,'" she recalled.

Hoefler lives near 2nd Avenue and 8th Street in the outskirts of Hugo, a small town in Lincoln County about 100 miles southeast of Denver. Winds of 111 mph were recorded there Wednesday night.

"I heard this horrible sound and I went to the front door: the wind was howling so bad," Hoefler said.

Instead of taking her shower, Hoefler dragged her queen-size mattress into the bathroom and hid underneath it inside her bathtub. Even through the mattress and the tub, the wind was deafening.

"I was trying to talk to my daughter and the wind was so loud I couldn't carry out a conversation," she tried.

When the storm eventually passed and she climbed out of her hastily-made cocoon, Hoefler looked out the window.

Her first thought: "Oh my God, my barn is gone!"

Hoefler didn't know how old the barn was but said it was there when her family acquired the property in 1982 and was in good repair. Inside the collapsed structure were two treasured vehicles.

"There's a '46 Willys and my husband's pride and joy, his '62 Chevy 2-door Impala," she said. "It was our dating car."

Trees and power lines were also knocked down in storm. Lincoln County Sheriff's Capt. Clint Tweden reported there were two injuries from the storm.

UPDATE: The National Weather Service in Boulder has determined straight line winds caused the damage in Hugo. The peak gust was 111 mph.

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