Storm recap

Published on March 18, 2021

Snow Ops

Last weekend’s storm might have arrived a little later than forecasted, but that didn’t stop Mother Nature from burying much of Colorado under several feet of snow.

In Weld County, the two-day storm brought snow coupled with high winds that resulted in drifts 3 to 4 feet high in some areas of the county. By early Sunday afternoon, visibility dropped off to seven feet.

As part of its Snow Operations plan, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office had multiple deputies on standby to staff Rescue 1 if needed. Rescue 1 is the agency’s Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected military vehicle, or MRAP, which was acquired in 2014 through a U.S. Department of Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office grant.

Rescue 1 was called into service at 8:51 a.m. Sunday. By that point, there were already multiple vehicle slide offs and reports of numerous downed power lines.

Below are some stats from Rescue 1’s activities during the storm:

  • Three teams of three deputies each operated Rescue 1 for 40 hours straight from Sunday morning until Monday night.

  • Rescue 1 logged nearly 500 miles during the storm.

  • Deputies performed 32 rescues, transporting dozens of people to shelters, motels or their homes. Several children were among those rescued from stranded vehicles.

  • Deputies used Rescue 1 to winch out eight stuck vehicles.

  • Deputies assisted 24 more stuck motorists utilizing the shovel and push method.

  • Deputies contacted approximately 100 additional vehicles to ensure they were not occupied and to mark them off with caution tape.

  • Deputies provided snacks, water and hand warmers to motorists who had been stuck in their vehicles overnight.

Rescue 1 is a six-wheel drive, high-clearance and high-traction all-terrain vehicle that is deployed on an average of 20 missions per year. It is primarily used as a rescue vehicle during extreme weather events, but also is deployed on SWAT calls.