Tornados in Colorado are more common than you may think. From 1950-2011 (the most recent year for which data is available), there were 1,911 tornados in Colorado ranging EF0 to EF4 in severity. These tornados resulted in five deaths and 275 injuries. A majority of tornados in Colorado occur along the eastern plains and Front Range; however, there have been occasional tornados further west.
Tornados generally occur between May and August and between noon and 7 p.m., but there are outliers to these statistics as well. For example at 7:55 p.m. on March 28, 2007, an EF3 tornado struck the town of Holly, causing severe damage, 11 injuries and two deaths.
Since tornadoes are a relatively common occurrence in Colorado, it’s important to be prepared. If you hear a tornado watch announced on your television or radio, tornados are possible in your area. Danger signs indicating that a tornado may be imminent include a dark, often greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating) and a loud roar, similar to a freight train.
If you hear a tornado warning, a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately. Taking shelter from a tornado may take different forms depending on your location. If you are in a structure, take shelter in the center of an interior room on the lowest level, away from doors, windows and exterior walls. Make sure to protect your head and neck as most tornado-related injuries result from flying debris. If you are in a trailer or mobile home, get out immediately. Get to a protected shelter, if possible, or take shelter outside. If you are outside with no shelter, lie in a flat, low-lying area (such as a ditch) and cover your head with your hands.
Tornados are one of nature’s most violent storms. They can be very sudden and very scary, but knowing what to do may save you and your family. For more information on tornados divided by state, go to http://bit.ly/tornadohistory. For more information on tornado preparedness, go to http://1.usa.gov/VEvTdU.