Severe winds are a common occurrence in the San Luis Valley and can cause heavy damage every year.
The San Luis Valley Research Center, located in Center, Colorado received the brute force of these winds which ended in severe damage to a potato storage unit. High winds blew the storage unit’s roof into mangled sheets of metal and scattered roofing material. Only one minor injury was reported.
The staff of the site reacted quickly, and worked tirelessly to minimize additional damage and to keep everyone in the area safe. Fallen roofing material was picked up and secured to prevent more damage to the Potato Certification lab next door and to prevent it from blowing into the greenhouse across the parking lot, where important potato breeding research is conducted.
This feat did not go unnoticed and the employees received an award from the CSU Employee Appreciation Board.
The chaos happened during a very busy time for the research center, where intense hiring processes and preparation for potato planting season were afoot. Even so, after hours of cleaning debris, employees began the potato planting process the following afternoon.
Research Center manager Tyler Thompson said they were fortunate that the extent of injuries to personnel and the damage to the other facilities was not greater.
“30 tons of metal was stripped off of the roof in a matter of 5 seconds,” Thompson said. “Thanks to the quick actions and knowledge of the station’s staff, we had daily operations back to a relatively normal state in just a few days.”
The San Luis Valley Research Center is engaged in various potato research programs and aim to support the Colorado potato industry and consumers alike.