DENVER (KDVR) — It has been a dry start to spring in Colorado with drought conditions getting worse by the week. Wildfire danger is top of mind for many.

Tornadoes have been popping up across the Midwest. But tornadoes don’t just happen in the Midwest, they can also happen in Colorado.

Tornadoes 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 National Weather Service.

On average, Colorado experiences 53 tornadoes on average each year.

For the most part, tornadoes in Colorado occur in the afternoons with the development of afternoon thunderstorms.

Do tornadoes ever hit Denver?

Has it happened? Yes. But strong tornadoes in the Denver metro are extremely rare.

On June 15, 1988, Meteorologist Chris Tomer said an F2 and F3 tornado hit the Denver metro.

An EF-3 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 E-F1 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 Meteorologist Chris Tomer.

Colorado’s tornado season is traditionally May through August, but we have had tornadoes from February to as late as October.

Be sure to download the free Pinpoint Weather App to stay up-to-date with the newest weather data as it comes in and to get important alerts straight to your phone.