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USA: Boulders up to 66 tonnes falls on highway; tornado destroys homes

Giant rocks came tumbling down a snowy Colorado mountainside early Monday, punching gaping holes in the interstate below, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

The rock slide at Glenwood Canyon halted travel on Interstate 70 near Glenwood Springs – over 250kms west of Denver. It is unclear when construction crews will complete enough work to open at least part of the roadway.

About 20 boulders struck the interstate shortly after midnight, the transportation department said. They ranged from 1 metre to over 3 metres in diameter, with the largest weighing an estimated 66 tons, the department said.

About eight holes or dips were left on the interstate. Road underwiring was exposed and rock crumbles surrounded the damage, the department said. The largest hole measured 20 feet by 10 feet — bigger than a full-size SUV.

Rocks were scattered over a large stretch of the road. A steel guard rail and median barrier were also damaged. The damage resembles a major rock slide in the area back in 2004, the department said
 

TORNADO DESTROYS HOMES IN OKLAHOMA

At least five homes were destroyed after a tornado touched down in western Oklahoma Monday evening, authorities said. There were no reports of injuries.

Other homes were damaged, and power was out to about 900 residences in and around the city of Hammon in Roger Mills County, Oklahoma, Michelann Ooten of the Department of Emergency Management said.

Roger Mills officials continued to assess the damage, but all residents appear to be accounted for, Ooten said.

The tornado hit about 5:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET), said Ken Gallant, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma.

The thunderstorms that produced the conditions for the tornado weakened shortly afterward and a tornado warning was cancelled, Gallant said.

Jerry Dean, county commissioner of Roger Mills, said the county barn was among the structures destroyed.

Area residents had time to prepare before the tornado hit, Dean said.

He could see the tornado coming before going into a cellar to wait it out, he said.

 – www.CNN.COM

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