include "/usr/home/eagle/crestoneeagle.com/html/footer.html"; ?>
Crestone Eagle, May 2005:
Tornado hits above Crestone
Sunday, April 24, at around 5:15pm, Crestone had its first
ever sighting of a tornado, which hit the small mountain just
above the town at about 8700 feet. There were no reported
property damages or injuries from this tornado.
As we go to press, the National Weather Service office in
Pueblo was still investigating this as a “possible tornado”.
However, as this writer is a trained weather spotter for the
weather service, and after viewing a video of the funnel cloud
which shows the funnel in the trees on the mountain side,
there is no question at that point it was a tornado.
The storm hit some parts of town with one-half-inch size
hailstones and left up to an inch of hail on the ground by
the time it ended. Yet at some locations, like over in the
Grants, there wasn’t any hail or rain reported from
the storm at all, and downtown Crestone only received pea
size hail and sleet.
Several photos of the funnel, along with the video, were
taken by Crestone resident Jeanne Sullivan. "The funnel
was spinning real fast, and I tracked it for more than 5 minutes."
said Sullivan. She adds, “When the rotation started,
it pulled the two large sprawling cloud masses together from
the Sand Dunes and from the Valley, and they assembled above
the tree line.”
Although tornadoes are rare in this part of Colorado, the
San Luis Valley has already reported two others so far this
year. In the past, the closest report of a tornado near Crestone
was one that touched down across the Valley, just south of
Saguache, in the late 1990s. That twister caused minor damage.
Most residents who witnessed the funnel didn’t realize
what they were seeing. “I remember looking straight
up at that cloud,” says Kizzen Laki as she viewed one
of the photos for the first time. Laki adds that she never
noticed the funnel. Others noted seeing the strange looking
clouds within the storm. “They were spinning in a large,
loose spiral,” says John Tembrock. According to Steve
Hodanish, a meteorologist at the Pueblo weather office, these
kinds of sightings are common when tornadoes hit, as some
tornados don’t even have visible funnels. Marty Coniglio,
meteorologist for 9NEWS in Denver who reported on TV about
this tornado, felt that what hit Crestone was a rare cold
air funnel tornado. Since the air temperature was only 42°
at the time the storm hit, more than likely, that was what
this funnel was.