Mount Evans tornado. Photo submitted by Josh Deere.

Tornado at 11,900 feet

Mount Evans tornado. Photo submitted by Josh Deere.
Photo: Josh Deere
Photo: Sheila Gavin

(Updated July 31, 2012, 2:15 pm MT)

I’ve lived all my life in Tornado Alley without ever hearing of a tornado in the Rockies. Wrong terrain. Wrong conditions. Right? Wrong.

Saturday a tornado was seen and photographed on Colorado’s Mount Evans at an elevation of 11,900 feet. It has been confirmed by the National Weather Service as the second highest in the record books. As if that road weren’t hairy enough, now I have to worry about tornadoes up there.

The highest known tornado occurred in 2004 in California’s Sequoia National Park at 12,000 feet.

Maybe it’s my age, but the weather just seems to get curiouser and curiouser.

While I’m on the subject, here’s an interesting map I just found on Boing Boing showing 61 years’ worth of tornado tracks in the U.S. (click twice for big view):

61 Years of Tornado Tracks

See? They stop dead at the Front Range of the Rockies. More or less. Or did, until Saturday.

For more photos, see The Weather Channel’s story.

4 thoughts on “Tornado at 11,900 feet

  1. Wow PT, I knew tornadoes occur at higher elevations but I’d never seen one that had been photographed before now. And that “61 years’ worth of tornado tracks in the U.S.” image is just off the hook cool! I’m not sure if there’s rally enough data to say the our “curiouser and curiouser” weather is actually caused by climate change, but the Rachel Maddow: Skeptical scientist says climate change is real and caused by humans report from last night certainly caught my attention! 😀

    1. Check that Boing Boing post for another couple of cool tornado map links. I’m beginning to think I need want a smart phone for all the non-phone things it does, like taking pictures. My theory on global warming is pretty simple: Yes, the earth goes through cycles and we might be in a warming cycle. And hell yes we contribute to it. We’re here, aren’t we? It we didn’t lift a finger, we’d still be polluting, consuming, destroying, depleting. We may not have actually caused it but we sure as hell contribute to it. We cant’ NOT contribute as long as we’re here and still breathing. I’ll have to check out Rachel. Bound to be worth hearing. Always is.

... and that's my two cents