A day after a landspout tornado touched down between Firestone and Platteville , officials in Weld County were still assessing the destruction Tuesday morning.
The Weld County Sheriff’s Department said at least five homes were damaged, and two were destroyed. Some livestock was lost, but no injuries to people have been reported, sheriff’s officials said.
The National Weather Service in Boulder reported a funnel cloud around 5:24 p.m. Monday north of Firestone. The twister was on the ground for about a half-hour, traveling 5 miles, and going northwest of Platteville.
Platteville resident Gerald Rusch was sitting in the kitchen of his mother’s house Monday evening talking with her when he heard pops of lightning outside. It looked like the feedlot a half-mile down the road was on fire with billows of black smoke, and then he realized it was a tornado.
“We got to the center of the house, laid down on the floor and hoped for the best,” Rusch said. “It didn’t take the house. I was expecting the roof to be gone.”
The twister also crossed a dairy farm, resulting in a still unknown amount of loss in animals.
The quickly developing storm happened when meteorologists weren’t particularly expecting such serious weather. On a relatively clear day, the cell was extremely isolated, making it highly visible even from the Denver area. The twister likely extended 10,000 feet into the sky, which would make it visible from 70 miles.
Weld County’s Office of Emergency Management reported the tornado traveled between Colorado Highway 66 and Weld County Road 42, between Weld County roads 17 and 13.
The nearest city was Fort Lupton, which suffered no damage as the tornado skirted the edge of the municipality.
“No damage in Fort Lupton; we sounded the sirens and monitored the situation,” Fort Lupton Fire Chief Phil Tiffanysaid. “We had our monthly siren test at noon, and we didn’t expect any issues. Around 5 p.m., we were in a meeting, and we got notified something could happen, and eight minutes later, we started hearing there may be a tornado on the ground.”
The Fort Lupton Fire Department had crews ready to respond to the situation.
The NWS has yet to classify the intensity of the storm. A more comprehensive report is expected later Tuesday.
Daily Camera reporter Katie Langford contributed to this report.
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