2 twisters spotted in Colorado | VailDaily.com

2 twisters spotted in Colorado

Associated Press Writer
Denver, CO Colorado
A tornado forms near Elbert, Colo., about 40 miles southeast of Denver, on Monday, June 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Dawn Key)
AP | Dawn Key

DENVER, Colorado) – At least two tornadoes touched down in Colorado on Monday, one of which forecasters called “large and extremely dangerous,” and at least two buildings were damaged.

There were no reports of injuries.

The larger tornado touched down near Elbert, about 40 miles southeast of Denver. The other was reported about five miles southwest of Fort Collins or 50 miles north of Denver.

The Elbert-area tornado “got really huge,” said Cathy Wilson, who works at an auto parts store in Elizabeth, about 10 miles north of Elbert.

“There was definitely a lot of thunder, lightning and rain here for a while. I know when we were watching it, it was about a mile wide, it seemed, and would get wider, then get narrower,” she said.

Dawn Key, who lives five miles south of Elizabeth, said she saw two tornadoes, one large and cone-shaped, the other a thin one that seemed to repeatedly touch down and pull back up.

“It shot back down amazingly fast,” she said.

Elbert County sheriff’s Lt. Michelle Mattive said she believed there was only one tornado, but its up-and-down movements gave the appearance of two.

“It looks like one that’s just been forming and coming up and then back down,” she said.

Mattive said deputies were checking for injuries around Elbert and Elizabeth but hadn’t confirmed any.

Two buildings in south Elbert County were damaged. Mattive said debris struck and damaged a small airplane hangar. Debris also hit a barn and briefly trapped the animals inside. Mattive said the animals were freed and were all right.

She said the tornado may have touched down in or near subdivisions in Elbert.

Sheri Coleridge, who lives about seven miles west of Elbert, said she could see the tornado from her home.

“It was just a huge funnel coming out of the sky down to the ground. It was very broad,” she said. “It wasn’t the ropy kind of tornado that you see. It was very massive.”

Drew Yancey, who works at a pizza restaurant in Elizabeth, said the tornado appeared to be on the ground for 15 or 20 minutes.

He said workers at a strip mall where the restaurant is located stopped to watch, and “Everyone was just amazed by it.”

Police in Fort Collins said they had no firsthand knowledge of a tornado nearby but said heavy rain caused some street flooding.

The tornadoes were the latest in a string to hit Colorado in a little more than a week. On June 7, five tornadoes touched down, including one that damaged a mall in Aurora. One man was injured when he tried to photograph the twister.

Tornadoes or funnel clouds were reported June 9, 10 and 11, and on Sunday, a Colorado Rockies game was temporarily halted when funnel cloud appeared over downtown Denver.


Associated Press Writer Charles Pulliam contributed to this report.

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