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Old 05-05-2007, 11:19 PM
1 posts, read 30,343 times
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Hi To Everyone:

My wife and I are planning to move to the Denver area, sometime before June 2008. We heard that Tornadoes are a problem in this area. What we want to know; is how much of a problem it is?

Thank you,

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Old 05-05-2007, 11:39 PM
Status: "Yes, Denver is my middle name." (set 29 days ago)
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,419 posts, read 27,070,552 times
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The problem really is that they are missing, and nowhere to be found. I am not sure there is a reward, if you find one. Tornado Alley doesn't run thru Denver. Don't believe me? http://www.tornadochaser.net/images/frequency.gif

I have lived here for 18 years, and only once did we have a tornado in Denver. A few in Aurora several years ago, and I am sure you have heard about the tornado in Holly Colorado several weeks ago.

The mountains don't lend themselves to tornado formation....they need wider, more open spaces to start turning and getting violent.

You are more likely to be hit with hail, and maybe a lightening strike, than anything close to a tornado in Denver.
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Old 05-06-2007, 12:05 AM
Location: Denver, CO
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There are usually several tornado warnings every summer-- at least on the eastern side of town. Sometimes it can feel a little scary... but 99% of the time nothing happens. BTW, tornadoes HAVE occurred in central Denver in years past... it's just that it's extremely rare. Once you're as far east as DIA, you ARE in tornado alley-- there seems to be at least one that touches down in that area every year. Nothing to lose sleep over-- just be aware of what your emergency shelter place is (your basement, most likely-- away from any windows) for just in case.
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Old 05-06-2007, 08:20 AM
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IMO they are extremely rare along the Front Range. When you get out east on the flat plains, the cells can form up into classic rotations and really get cranking. The humid air coming east from KS meets the cold air coming off the mountains and it gets busy. Big storms do come off the mountains, but they do so with a good deal of speed and go charging off to the east so quickly they don't have a chance to form up into really dangerous storms, at least here.

The recent fatality out in Holly, CO was the FIRST tornado death in the ENTIRE state in FIFTY years. Holly is out near the border with KS. Regular hail in the summer is to be expected.

IMO, if you are moving to Denver or the just about anywhere on the I-25 corridor, you can take this worry off your list.

For a definition of what is the Front Range, see:
Relocating to CO - info pls
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Old 05-06-2007, 08:56 AM
Status: "On Break" (set 6 days ago)
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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There have been a few tornadoes in Boulder County in the 25 years I have lived here. One touched down in Baseline Lake outside of Boulder on the last day of school probably about 10 years ago. I arrived at my DDs school to pick up the car pool and everyone was going back in to the school. I thought "how odd, on the last day of school". Then I saw someone pointing to the funnel cloud in the west. It was all over pretty quickly and that's the last one I remember touching down.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 05-06-2007 at 08:57 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 05-06-2007, 10:22 AM
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There was also a tornado that touched down in south Denver in 1988; I believe 7 people were injured in that tornado.

It's not entirely true that tornadoes cannot occur in or near the mountains, although it does make them less likely to forum. In addition to the Denver tornado in 1988, there have also been tornadoes in Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and other major cities in proximity to mountains. However, they are rare and tend not to be very strong or destructive compared to locations further east.
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Old 05-06-2007, 01:02 PM
Location: on an island
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Originally Posted by tfox View Post
There was also a tornado that touched down in south Denver in 1988; I believe 7 people were injured in that tornado.

I think that that was the same year that a tornado went through the neighborhood of Park Hill. Huge mature trees were uprooted, but I don't think anyone was injured.
Seems to me that there are tornado sirens every other spring or so, but when I think of severe weather in Denver, I usually think of thunderstorms.
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Old 05-06-2007, 06:32 PM
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As others have posted, tornadoes are rare along the Front Range. Those that do occur are usually small-F0's to F2's. Farther east on the plains of Colorado they are more common and can be more destructive, but are still less common than in Kansas, Nebraska, etc.

The big danger on the Front Range from thunderstorms is lightning, flash floods, and hail. Flash floods can be extremely dangerous in the mountain canyons, as the Big Thompson flood west of Loveland on July 31, 1976 illustrated (131 killed, as I recall). Hail is very common, and big hail (golfball or better) can occur with some regularity. For several years, Denver held the record for most monetary damage in the U.S. out of a single storm, something over $1 billion from a hailstorm. Cheyenne, Wyoming, 100 miles north of Denver is considered by climatologists the "hail capital" of the U.S. for its frequency of hailstorms, many with "big hail." There is a swath running from northwestern Nebraska down through southeast Wyoming and western Nebraska, extending southward through western Kansas and eastern Colorado (to the Front Range) that climatologists nickname "Hail Alley." An apt description.
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Old 06-18-2007, 05:32 PM
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Default Tornados in CO? How common are they?

We are thinking about moving to CO but now my girlfriend is afraid because she heard that there are tornadoes there. How common of an occurance are they? Should we be worried? I know certain states are avoided because of possible natural disasters (CA: earthquakes, FL: Hurricanes) but I lived in CA for 25 years and only felt one earthquake. Definately not a reason to avoid somewhere...
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Old 06-18-2007, 05:43 PM
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Here's an old thread that may help:


The eastern plains near the borders with Kansas can get some serious tornadoes, but metro Denver's risk of serious tornadoes is low, particularly on its western side.
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