Tornadoes are an interesting force of nature; for all of their destructive potential, they can often cause very little damage at all. That usually depends on the path it slices through the country, but fact of the matter is, if you are really lucky, a tornado can pass without doing any harm at all. What’s downright miraculous, however, is when nineteen tornadoes fail to do any real damage at all. Colorado got just that miraculously lucky this past Memorial Day weekend.
From Sunday to Monday, the state of Colorado has a total of nineteen tornadoes touch down on its soil, each of them carving paths of relatively minor destruction on the Eastern Plains and the Front Range. Despite all of these tornadoes in such a ridiculously short time frame, not a single person was injured or killed. Not even one animal was reported dead by the state’s many ranchers. The only real property damage was a single grain silo that was mildly inconvenienced in Boulder.
To be fair to those poor humiliated tornadoes, none of them were very strong, and practically all of them touched down in large open fields where there weren’t many people to potentially injure to begin with. In fact, while the local meteorologists haven’t done the math on every single tornado yet, they are confident that all nineteen of them will rank as either a zero or at best a one on the Enhanced Fujida Scale, the tool of measurement for tornadoes. Tornadoes of that low level often only have winds up to 110 miles an hour max. That sounds scary of course, but is nothing compared to a level 5 tornado, which would have winds beyond 200 miles per hour.
Thankfully level five tornadoes are exceptionally rare, with only 59 of them being recorded in the United States since 1950. Colorado is exceptionally lucky that none of their nineteen tornadoes ended up being beyond level 1, as roughly five of them shadowed Interstate 76, which would have resulted in potentially massive amounts of damage to cars and lives. On the other hand, many cars were minor damaged by hail, though that is of course preferable to the alternative.
Below is a detailed report of the Monday twisters provided 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.
Ultimately, the residents of Colorado are immensely fortuitous, and we can all be glad that they came out of this hectic weekend unscathed.