DENVER (KDVR) — Tornado season has started in Colorado and this is just the beginning. The season typically lasts until August.
Tornado warnings were issued for parts of the Denver area on Wednesday, as well as in Arapahoe and Douglas counties and on the Eastern Plains.
Do tornadoes ever hit Denver?
Do tornadoes ever hit Denver? Well, it has happened. But strong tornadoes in the Denver metro are extremely rare.
On June 15, 1988, meteorologist Chris Tomer said an EF2 and EF3 tornado hit the Denver metro.
An EF3 tornado hit Windsor in May of 2008. It covered a 39-mile path and caused $100,000,000 in damage, the NWS said.
In June of 2015, an EF1 tornado touched down in East Denver and traveled to Aurora.
Tornadoes in Denver are rare because of the city’s proximity to the foothills and mountains.
“It takes some distance for the thunderstorms to mature, and the wind shear to maximize kind of like a spinning ice skater,” shared Tomer.
The NWS said wind shear describes how the wind changes speed and/or direction with height.
Where do tornadoes happen in Colorado?
The Pinpoint Weather team said that most tornadoes in Colorado happen over the Eastern Plains and are on the lower end of the Enhanced Fujita Scale of tornado intensity.
History shows us that 95% of tornadoes happen along and east of Interstate 25 where heat and moisture in the lower atmosphere are often more abundant, according to the NWS.
On average, Colorado experiences 53 tornadoes on average each year.
For the most part, tornadoes in Colorado happen in the afternoon with the development of thunderstorms.