At least 14 people were injured by falling hail at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs Monday afternoon. Two zoo animals, a duck and a vulture were killed by the hail storm.
Over 3,400 people were stranded at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado after a barrage of hail damaged hundreds of vehicles and sent five people to nearby hospitals. Nine others were treated and released, according to a spokesperson for the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
None of the 3,400 people who were at the zoo on Monday when the storm hit were allowed to drive their cars and were instead bussed to nearby Cheyenne Mountain High School to a Red Cross Evacuation Center.
About 300 cars were not driveable due to the hail that fell – some reaching up to 4 inches in diameter (about the size of a softball), according to a spokesperson for the zoo.
The guests at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo mainly took shelter on their own under whatever was nearby, the spokesperson said.
While a pair of animals is confirmed dead, the zoo is still checking the other animals in its exhibits for potential injuries. Staff there acted quickly to shelter and protects as many animals as they could.
According to the fire department there are several children who attended the zoo camp on Monday weren’t hurt.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo sustained severe infrastructure damage due to the storm and will be closed on Tuesday. At this point, it’s not immediately clear if the zoo will be able to reopen on Wednesday.
Skylights and windows in several buildings were destroyed. The buses were taking people from the zoo to the high school and as of 5:45 p.m. around three busloads of people remained at the zoo waiting for evacuation. The storm knocked out power to nearly 2,000 customers and heavy rain and debris forced the closing of U.S. Highway 24 west of the resort town of Manitou Springs.