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Strong winds blow down power poles, lines Wednesday in northeast Colorado Springs

Brief power outage affected 8,000 customers

WATCH High winds knock over power lines

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Multiple power poles and lines were downed on Powers Boulevard near Dublin and Stetson Hills boulevards Wednesday, causing havoc for drivers in the area.

Police responded to several crashes Wednesday afternoon, as drivers swerved to avoid live power lines or were confused by inoperative traffic signals.

Colorado Springs Utilities spokesman Steve Berry said a microburst -- a localized area of intense wind velocity -- hit the area at around 11:30 a.m.

"It's something we rarely see," he said.  "Normally when we get strong winds like this, damage is more widespread."

Powers was closed southbound between Dublin and Barnes, according to police. Stetson Hills was closed in both directions at Powers.

Police said Wednesday afternoon that the affected stretch of Powers, about a mile long, will remain closed until Thursday morning.

Berry said five crews are repairing eight or nine power poles that broke, leaned or fell.

(PHOTOS: Power lines downed on Powers Blvd.)

Some traffic signals lost power, and police said drivers should treat those intersections as four-way stops.

Witnesses told KRDO they saw sparks on the ground from at least one of the lines. Another witness reported having to swerve off the road to avoid fireballs generated by fallen lines.

Berry said all lost power was restored by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Traffic is still impacted due to the downed lines. The company says "you may see limited Springs Utilities activity in an impacted area if winds are still high. Our crews cannot safely repair the poles and lines until conditions improve."

District 11 said Rudy and Martinez elementary schools let students out at 1:30 p.m.

High winds ended up knocking out two windows at Doherty High School, and they ended up shattering, according to witnesses. No students were injured, and they were being sheltered in classrooms.

The windy weather also affected tourism on Pikes Peak Wednesday.  The summit was closed all day because of wind gusts measuring 85 mph.

"That kind of wind can easily pop door glass or crack your windshield from blown rocks," said Jack Glavan, manager of the Pikes Peak Highway.  "We ask drivers heading up the highway to open their windows slightly to equalize pressure and keep glass from blowing out."

Drivers could only go as far as Glen Cove, the unofficial halfway point to the summit.

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