A few Colorado towns are dealing with tumbleweeds that are nothing like the innocent ones shown in cartoons.
These tumbleweeds are trapping people in their homes, forcing some to call 911 just to get out of their own front door, according to a KDVR report.
"I don't think they understand the gravity of the situation," Colorado Springs resident Melissa Walker told KRDO-TV. "It's not just a few tumbleweeds. It really is a block full of tumbleweeds. We can't drive. We can't walk. We can't get out of our homes."
Near Colorado Springs, neighbors are banding together to remove tumbleweeds that, in some instances, cover entire neighborhoods. Piles of the annoying plants smothered driveways and front yards, forcing some residents to use snow plows to clear the way, Fox21News.com reports.
"As winter and spring storm systems come out of the Rockies and into the Plains, high winds are a common feature," said Chris Dolce, weather.com meteorologist. "These winds, sometimes gusting over 40 and 50 mph, are easily sufficient for blowing tumbleweeds across the landscape."
In Fountain, officials have been continuously clearing tumbleweeds since November, costing El Paso County more than $150,000 in labor and equipment, a KHON-TV report stated.
There's more bad news about the annoyance – as dry conditions prevail, the uncleared tumbleweeds pose a wildfire risk, KRDO said. A car's backfire or a lit cigarette butt could ignite piles of tumbleweeds, so firefighters have offered to help clear the mess.
Earlier this week, dry conditions led to a dust storm to the south in parts of New Mexico and western Texas. Winds gusted to nearly 60 mph as the drought-ridden area was covered by a thick cloud of dust.