Atmospheric Archive: Incredible Colorado tornado!

On May 22, 2008, An EF-3 (winds of 136-165mph) tornado slammed through northern Colorado near the I-25 corridor along a 39 mile path. It was up to a mile wide in places as the impressive videos show.  There was one person killed, 13 people hurt who needed hospitalization, and 100 minor injuries (cuts and scratches). The death occurred when a man was killed as he fled his trailer park in a motor home: not a good choice!

Eighteen wheelers were flipped along the highway, and over 200 power poles were snapped or blown down. Some 60,000 people were left without electricity. The tornado derailed 15 train cars and destroyed a lumber car on the Great Western Railway of Colorado.

It also flattened Windsor's main livestock feedlot and destroyed a dairy barn. Most of the four-hundred cows at the facility were killed in the tornado or had to be destroyed later. To add insult to injury, the thunderstorm also produced hail up to the size of baseballs.

About 850 homes were damaged, and nearly 300 homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. Privately insured damages totaled $147 million, and the local electric co-op reported $1 million of damage to high-voltage transmission lines. In terms of dollar damage it was Colorado’s 4th costliest disaster.

Although  Tornado Alley does not include Colorado, Weld County, CO had the highest number of reported tornadoes - 213 - of any county in the United States (between 1950 and 2000), according to the National Weather Service. This works out to about four a year.

Take Care,

Steve LaNore

KXII-TV

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