Elbert County residents experienced a frightening afternoon of three confirmed tornadoes on June 15. The first tornado warning coming in just before …
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Elbert County residents experienced a frightening afternoon of
three confirmed tornadoes on June 15.
The first tornado warning coming in just before 1:30 p.m. that
day was only the beginning.
The confirmed tornadoes touched down around the town of Elbert
area including the area around County Road 13 and County Road 98
and south of Elbert. But could be seen from Colo. 83 and Colo. 86,
as well as Elizabeth and Kiowa. LaRiea Thompson, director of
emergency management for Elbert County said the largest tornado was
recorded at a level 2 on the fujita scale, which is the biggest
tornado she has ever seen in her six years as director in Elbert
County. The very powerful F2 tornado demolished two barns and one
airplane hanger as well as causing damage to trees.
Elbert Fire Protection District and Elizabeth Fire Protection
District responded to emergency situation. T.J. Steck, division
chief for Elizabeth, followed a couple of the tornados at one point
and said it was an amazing experience. He said at one point he was
only half a mile from a tornado.
“We were a mile from the tornado, but it shifted back towards us
in an instant closing in only half a mile from us,” he said. “That
is when we decided we better get out of the way.”
Thompson said the county was extremely lucky by not experiencing
any injuries due to the tornado. She said there was one
sub-division, Air Academy, that was very close to being hit, but
luckily was not affected.
“The situation could have been catastrophic and thankfully it
was not,” she said “We were blessed.”
Since the tornadoes hit, Thompson said the number of people
signed up for the CodeRED reverse notification system has more than
doubled. Thompson hopes even more people will sign up, but she also
hopes people will start taking weather warnings more seriously.
“When there is a tornado warning or thunderstorm warning that
means either it is already happening or it is imminent,” she said.
“People need to understand that and get to a safe place as soon as
To sign up for the system visit the county Web site www.elbertcounty-co.gov and
continue to the Emergency Management page and look for the CodeRED
logo. People can also visit any fire protection district Web sites
in the county or call Thompson at 303-805-6131.
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