August Tornadoes...

While August tornadoes are not unheard of in Colorado, they are pretty rare.  Colorado's tornado season usually runs from May through July.  However, we really didn't have much of a severe weather season due to the Summer drought.  Since August began, we've had good moisture availability and numerous disturbances moving through.  This has proven to be a good recipe for thunderstorms.

Below is the analysis and damage survey from the Teller County Tornado 8/23/08 ( courtesy of the NWS in Pueblo):

Tornado strikes northeast Teller County...

(Last updated 8/25/08)

Mid-afternoon, Saturday, August 23rd, a powerful supercell thunderstorm spawned two tornados, one in southwest Douglas County, and the other in northeast Teller County.  

 

The tornado in Douglas County had a path length of around 1/3 mile, and did extensive tree damage in a campground and injured one man.

The tornado in Teller County had a path length of around 2/3 mile, and did extensive tree damage east of Highway 67 and west of the Ridgewood subdivision...around 8 miles north-northwest of Woodland Park.  Several dozen trees (with trunk diameters between 8 and 16 inches) were either snapped off or uprooted, consistent with EF1 wind damage (winds between 86 and 110 mph).  See SPC EF scale page here.

The tornado lifted a couple hundred feet from several houses on Ponderosa Lane.  One pine rested against electrical wires on the road.

The National Weather Service Doppler Radar from Pueblo showed the classic reflectivity echo of a supercell...with a hook echo showing rapid rotation near the campground in Douglas County shortly before the first tornado...

The velocity display showed very rapid rotation in the vicinity of the reflectivity hook echo with winds blowing toward and away from the radar at around 50 knots...shortly after the time below...the circulation intensified to around 70 knots toward and away from the radar...coincident with the second tornado...

Below is the location of the tornado in Teller County...

Here is a close up of the location, just south of the Douglas-Teller County line...

A photo was taken of the storm from near the summit of Pikes Peak...Rampart Reservoir is in the lower right side...

 

 

Below are some photos taken by NWS Pueblo's Warning Coordination Meteorologist along the damage path...

The first Ponderosa Pine snapped off by the tornado...

 

Below is a look at trees...some downed by severe southwest winds on the front edge of the tornado...the others downed by severe northwest to north winds on the rear edge of the tornado...

 

Below is the path of the tornado looking west-northwest.  Several trees in the center of the tornado vortex were snapped off, while many other trees were uprooted, some falling to the northeast and some falling to the southeast and south.

 

The tornado crossed Spruce Lane and weakened to EF0...the path is directly below the mountain in the distance...

The circulation strengthed again shortly after...and did more EF1 damage very close to some houses...before finally lifting...

The supercell then weakened considerably as it moved over extreme northeast Teller County into northwest El Paso County.  



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  • by Jim Location: Canada on Nov 1, 2009 at 06:05 PM
    Nicely covered tornado in non-traditional mountain areas. We get em in forests up here too eh!
  • by Chris Hill Location: Park County on Aug 31, 2009 at 12:59 PM
    Excellent documentation! I filmed two tornados on August 18th, 2009, one near 11 Mile Park near Wilkerson Pass, the other near the town of Lake George with a similar EF0 - EF1 damage path. This is very good historical information, lending to the understanding of alpine tornado frequency in the Pikes Peak region.
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