Colorado dodged many of Mother Nature’s bullets this Memorial Day weekend. In fact, 19 of them.
What may be the most remarkable part of having 19 tornadoes touch down and sashay along the Front Range and the Eastern Plains Sunday and Monday was how little damage was actually done. No people were injured or killed. Ranchers did not report any animal deaths. And only one grain silo was reported damaged to the National Weather Service in Boulder, NWS meteorologist Russell Danielson said Tuesday.
“While these were relatively weak tornadoes we were fortunate that they happened in open fields and no damage was reported,” Danielson said. “Every tornado is dangerous and has the potential to cause damage.”
No barns, telephone poles, roads, commercial buildings, train tracks, ranch homes or cattle waste lagoons were destroyed or even disturbed. There is no doubt that many thousands of cars, SUVs and trucks were pelted and dented by hail, but there were no reports of structural damage to buildings or vehicles caused by tornadoes, he said.
Radar analytics of the 19 tornadoes will be studied, and meteorologists will perform on-sight surveys to determine how strong each of them was, Danielson said. But he added that most will likely fall on the low end of the Enhanced Fujida Scale that goes from zero to 5.
The 19 confirmed tornadoes will likely measure a zero, with wind speeds between 65 and 85 mph, or a 1, with wind speeds ranging from 86 to 110 mph, Danielson said. The most dangerous tornadoes measuring 5 on the Fujida scale have winds topping 200 mph, he said.
On Sunday, when nine twisters dropped from the sky from northern Weld County to Lamar, none of them caused any damage to buildings, Danielson said.
The lack of damage on highways was particularly remarkable on Monday considering that a line of five tornadoes and 10 hail storms shadowed Interstate 76 from just east of Denver to Nebraska.
Here is a timeline of the Monday tornadoes, as reported by the National Weather Service.
1:43 p.m.: A weak twister touched down eight miles north of Strasburg.
3:03 p.m.: A weak tornado touched down for less than a minute four miles northeast of Fort Morgan Airport near a ranch’s cattle feed silo. No damage was reported.
3:23 p.m.: A needle tornado touched down briefly in open fields two miles southeast of Willard, causing no damage.
4:36 p.m.: A weak twister touched down briefly five miles south of Crook, which is about 40 miles northeast of Willard. A grain silo was damaged.
4:58 p.m.: A tornado touched down one mile south of Lochbuie, which is 23.5 miles northeast of Denver. The weak twister was on the ground for about five minutes in open space and didn’t cause any damage.
5:05 p.m.: Another weak twister touched down briefly about 7 miles northeast of Lochbuie and one mile north of Hudson.
5:25 p.m.: A tornado dropped from a rotating wall cloud and touched down briefly two miles south of Clarksville in northeast Colorado.
5:33 p.m.: A tornado landed about four miles northeast of Clarksville.
5:51 p.m.: A tornado touched down near the Yuma and Phillips county line, causing no damage.
5:53 p.m.: A tornado landed 12 miles northeast of Clarksville and lasted for one minute.