Rare Tornado Hits Denver Area Campground
A tornado touched down in the mountains west of Denver on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 23), knocking over campers and slightly injuring four people at Witcher Cove Campground.
Tornados rarely touch down in the mountains, according to the Denver Post.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Sharon Morris, the Park County coroner, who was fielding media calls on behalf of the county. "And I've been here 25 years."
The twister appeared to have touched down once at about 2:15 p.m. on the north side of Eleven Mile Reservoir in Eleven Mile State Park.
The park has 24 camper spaces, but not all of them were in use, Morris said.
Sheriff Fred Wegener estimated about five vehicles were damaged, including a motorhome and pickup with a camper that overturned. He says another camp trailer was "completely obliterated."
Other vehicles had damage such as broken windows.
He said injuries were limited to cuts and scrapes, and everyone was accounted for at the campground.
Witnesses got a look at the rare mountain tornado, Morris said.
Colorado is ninth in the country in tornado activity, with more than 40 twisters touching down each year, according to the state emergency- management office.
"Almost all of Colorado's tornado activity occurs in the plains east of the Rocky Mountains. Tornadoes are comparatively rare in mountainous areas because the rugged terrain tends to disrupt the storm conditions needed for tornado formation," according to an analysis of the state's tornadoes by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.