In 2011, Colorado is ranked ninth in the country for tornado frequency, with an average of 60 tornadoes touching down each year during 1999 to 2009. However, only two or three fatalities have occurred in Colorado since the mid-1960s. In Denver, the state's capitol, the largest tornado was an F-3 that touched ground in 1988.
Denver County Tornado History
In Denver County, Colorado, 14 tornadoes have touched down between April 11, 1966 and May 26, 2010. Of these tornadoes, the longest path was two miles and the widest path was 400 feet. During this five-decade period, there were no fatalities but 13 tornado-related injuries. Tornadoes have hit Denver County in 1966, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1990, 1993, 1996 and 2010. In 1981, the only year to produce more than one tornado, an F-1 and an F-2 hit on May 28 and June 3, respectively.
Recent Denver Tornadoes
As of April 2011, the most recent Denver tornado occurred on May 26, 2010, but no major damage or injuries occurred. Prior to this, the last tornado activity occurred on Sunday, June 7, 2009, when four tornadoes touched down in Aurora, Deer Trail, Byers and Bennett, which are all located within 50 miles east of Denver proper, and a final fifth tornado appeared 15 miles north of Denver in Westminster and Adams, Colorado. Classified as an F-1 with winds of 100 miles per hour, the Aurora tornado damaged apartments and the Southland Shopping Center.
Largest Denver Tornado
The largest Denver-area tornado was an F-3 that occurred on Jun 15, 1988, injuring seven people and causing between $5 million and $50 million in property damage. The tornado touched down at 5:24 P.M. near the corner of Eudora St. between East 8th and 9th Avenues. With a width of 200 feet and a path of two miles, the 1988 tornado was the biggest and most injury-producing in Denver history.
Approximately 75 percent of Colorado tornadoes occur between noon and 7 P.M. Colorado's tornado season runs between May to mid-August, with a May and June peak season, in which two-thirds of the tornadoes occur. A majority of the tornadoes in Colorado move southwest to northeast. Even though Denver has had a statistically safe history, the Colorado Division of Emergency Management recommends that all residents take the proper precautions.
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