Cheyenne Mountain Zoo reopened after crazy hailstorm 

  • Courtesy Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo reopened on Aug. 11 after a hail storm five days earlier destroyed skylights and damaged plant life, killed five zoo animals, injured more than a dozen people and bashed hundreds of visitors' cars.

The Aug. 6 storm killed a meerkat pup, Snoop the peacock, Katy Perry the peahen, Daisy the Muscovy duck and an extremely rare 13-year-old cape vulture named Motswari, which The Washington Post reports is one of a dwindling population brought here from Africa to rebuild the species; Motswari was one of fewer than 20 in the United States.

Besides the zoo, homes and businesses in the southwest area of the city were severely damaged, including Penrose House, a mansion built by Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose and used by El Pomar Foundation, which provided a $100,000 grant to the zoo for recovery. El Pomar's vice president of communications Lori Bellingham reports initial surveys of the property showed significant roof and skylight damage at Penrose House, as well as damage to the maintenance and office areas, trees, shrubs and flowers. The Will Rogers Shrine above the zoo, the burial place for Spencer and Julie Penrose, might have roof damage, she reports, along with broken windows and damaged vegetation.

The Broadmoor didn't respond to an email asking about damage, but the buildings' roof tiles were broken, and at least one golf course was covered in divots left by the baseball-sized hailstones.

El Pomar's contribution of $500,000 to help residents affected by the hail was gobbled up within a few days, running out on Aug. 10 after an average of roughly $570 was given to 828 people. There was no income limit, but applicants had to prove ownership of damaged cars and homes. Assistance was aimed at covering insurance deductibles, uninsured losses and temporary housing. The maximum award was $1,250.

Pikes Peak Regional Building Department warns residents to be sure mechanical vents weren't damaged such that they don't vent properly, causing deadly carbon monoxide to get trapped. Tarps covering damaged roofs are another hazard for blocking vents.

No damage estimate was available from officials for the Aug. 6 storm.


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