HUERFANO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Drivers of three 18-wheelers escaped injury Monday when their vehicles rolled over in hurricane-force wind gusts on Interstate 25, north of Walsenburg.
The Colorado State Patrol said that two of the semi-trailers overturned northbound at Exit 59; the third flipped southbound a few miles farther north near the Pueblo County line.
That stretch of I-25 is an area where strong wind gusts are common, and signs alert drivers to that fact; but troopers said that the high wind warning increased those gusts to as high as 90 mph.
Troopers also said that the three affected trucks were pulling light or empty loads, making them more vulnerable to the strong winds.
The high wind warning was scheduled to expire at noon Monday, but gusts continued to blow strongly into the afternoon.
The conditions forced many drivers of trucks, RVs and other vehicles to pull over and wait for calmer winds.
Bob and Zondra Knipps live in southern Arizona and were traveling to Monument when they passed the overturned semi trucks; Bob drove a camper and Zondra drove a car, with the couple using radios to manage the conditions.
"So if I see a big truck coming, I just call him and say that he's got a big semi coming around, so he knows there's going to be some wind-changing motions, and putting on flashers when we're slowing down," Zondra said.
Even with the planning, however, Bob confessed to still having some white-knuckle moments.
"A couple of times in Colorado, a truck would pass and the whole trailer would want to jump off the road," he said. "But generally, it's been all right."
One semi driver said that he decided to stop after driving past one of the flipped trucks, and seeing his own trailer fishtail in the wind.
"I'm more concerned about arriving at my destination safe than late," said Emerson Johnson. "I've been driving trucks for 10 years and I've never seen it like this."
Authorities moved the three disabled semis off the highway, either to the center median or to the side of the highway.
Towing crews were waiting for the winds to subside before they attempted to remove the damaged trucks from the scenes; one was towed away early Monday evening.