Tornado kills one and injures 100 in northern Colorado

Friday, May 23, 2008

Doppler radar image of the thunderstorms that produced the tornado that struck the region

A tornado that has caused 28 miles (45 km) of destruction throughout Weld County, Colorado, has killed one and injured 100. The man killed was inside a vehicle that was destroyed in the storm, west of Greeley, which is about 60 miles (97 km) north of Denver.

A state trooper says that multiple car accidents occurred on highways throughout the county. U.S. Route 85 was closed after two semi-trailers were flipped over, though the drivers were not injured. Dozens of houses and vehicles were badly damaged by the tornado as it passed through. The town of Windsor had hundreds of homes and businesses damaged, including the town hall, in addition to trees down and electricity outages. In response to the disaster, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter declared a state of emergency and activated the Colorado National Guard in the badly damaged Weld County.

Storm clouds over Laramie, Wyoming May 22, 2008

Severe storms also hit Laramie, Wyoming, 145 miles northwest of Denver, knocking out electricity to 7,300 customers and damaging buildings. One damaged building, the Quadra Dangle Square Dance Club, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, had its roof and porch ripped off. The Associated Press reports Brian Chapman of the National Weather Service in Cheyenne as saying that "indicators are very strongly in favor of it being a tornado," but no confirmation is possible until the damage is fully assessed. Governor Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming has also authorized a crew of eight National Guardsman to help clean up the damage. Another twister touched down just east of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The local fire department responded to a call after the storm damaged a barn and a house just south of I-80.

Icy snow in aftermath of storm, Laramie, Wyoming May 23, 2008

Rain, hail and snow pelted the entire region, and more storms are predicted for today. The National Weather Service in Cheyenne reports, "Severe thunderstorms are likely again this afternoon into early this evening mainly east of the Laramie Range...with the greatest threat east of Cheyenne across the southern Nebraska panhandle. Locally heavy rainfall is also possible which may cause some localized flooding especially in areas that received heavy rainfall Thursday." Winds are expected to gust above 40mph throughout the day. At 7:40am MST weather conditions were calm and partly cloudly just west of Laramie, Wyoming