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Overview

A damage survey was conducted by the National Weather Service Pueblo office concerning the tornadoes in Baca County on Memorial Day, May 31st. The MIC and WCM travelled to the damage areas with the Baca County Emergency Manager.  The preliminary report is that there were three tornadoes in southern Baca County, although there was one claim, so far, that two or three additional small, short-lived tornadoes occurred. Regarding the three tornadoes, two were rated EF2 and one EF0.

Two tornadoes occurred southwest of Pritchett.  Eyewitness reports said that one was quite large, and one was smaller and to south of the large tornado. 

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Path of the First EF2 Tornado

Here is a link to video shot of the large tornado by Roger Hill...

The large tornado developed north of US Highway 160 approximately 7 miles west-southwest of Pritchett. Storm chasers said this tornado lasted for 22 minutes, between approximately 2:50 p.m. and 3:12 p.m. The tornado moved toward the southeast and crossed US Highway 160, snapping off and taking down 14 power poles in the vicinity of the intersection of US Highway 160 and County Road 8. This was consistent with low end EF2 damage. The power poles were approximately 200 feet apart. The tornado likely was not that wide (2800 feet), as the tornado probably did not move absolutely perpendicular to US Highway 160. Also, once the tornado snapped some power poles off, the domino effort took over, and pulled down poles on either side. After crossing US Highway 160 a tree had a large limb broken off on the east side of County Road 8. Thereafter the tornado passed over an open field and no fence damage was seen. No damage could be found with the smaller tornado to the south, as it traveled over open fields. Therefore, it rating is EF0.

The supercell thunderstorm continued to move toward the southeast. Storm chasers, emergency management, and law enforcement reported strong rotation at cloud base and occasional funnel clouds.

Then at approximately 6:09 p.m., another large tornado occurred south of Campo. Scores of storm chasers, emergency management, and law enforcement witnessed this very photogenic tornado for approximately 16 minutes. Video of this tornado was shown on National news outlets throughout the day.   Close-up video was seen as the tornado crossed US Highway 287/385 approximately 8 miles south-southeast of Campo. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Path of the Second EF2 Tornado

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