A twister that made its way through Eleven Mile Reservoir west of Woodland Park sent campers packing. The tornado hit Saturday afternoon when the park was nearly full to capacity.
The twister apparently swayed side to side hitting land and then water. It swept through at least five miles of campground, and destroyed a lot of equipment. Everything has already been cleaned up.
The twister measured between 50 and 100-yards wide.
"All we saw was dirt and dust and then we saw it moving to the other end," said Ron Pierson who witnessed the tornado.
It was with-out warning that the massive vortex came blazing through.
"There were some people who were really freaked out and scared to death," said Pierson.
"It was real spooky seeing something like that and watching it go through some of the campground areas. We figured it could be a catastrophic event," said Kevin Tobey the Eleven Mile State Park Manager.
Bumps, bruises, a couple of broken bones and camping equipment were the only casualties to speak of, and there was at least one near miss right off the reservoir. "The couple ended up ramming their boat up onto the shore line and jumped into a ravine as the tornado came over them," said Tobey.
Tornadoes in the mountainous Park County area are unusual, but clearly not unheard of.
"South Park is known for having very strange weather," said Tobey.
Many campers say they are thankful for State Park officials. They say they did a great job getting people to safety.
"I can't say enough about the staff up here," said Pierson.
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