Eintime Conversion for education and research 10-20-2007 @ 07:24:09
Copyrighted by originating associated source: Original

Hailstorm sends Denver residents scrambling

Story Highlights• Grape-size hail blankets downtown streets

Hail piles up 4 inches deep, closes amusement park

• Rain soaks Plains states from Colorado to Minnesota

• Tornado warnings issued in Colorado, Nebraska

DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- Grape-size hail pummeled the city on Tuesday, blanketing downtown streets, startling drivers and pedestrians, and piling up 4 inches deep at an amusement park.

Motorists scurried under bridges or into garages and pedestrians scrambled for cover to avoid being pelted.

Brazil Redd, 21, was outside when the rain and hail began, her car being towed after a hit-and-run collision.

"It hurt. I probably got bruises. It was huge," she said. "I got soaked."

At Elitch Gardens amusement park, the hail broke lights and toppled small trees, prompting the park to close several hours early, spokeswoman Brooke Gabbert said.

Visitors were led to shelters and then moved out of the park after the storm passed.

"With the severe hail, we have to recheck all the rides. It would've been a while before we would have been able to reopen," Gabbert said.

Drivers were caught in up to 3 feet of water in some intersections, but no serious injuries were reported, Denver Fire Department spokesman Phil Champagne said.

Marty Thrall plodded through a half-inch of hail in a short-sleeved T-shirt, shorts and sandals.

"I didn't know it was going to be this icy," he said.

Heavy rain soaked the Plains states from Colorado up to Minnesota Tuesday, causing minor flooding in some places.

The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for Elbert County, 60 miles southeast of Denver, and for Lincoln County in southwestern Nebraska.

(Original Len: 2090 Condensed Len: 2194)

10-20-2007 @ 07:24:09