Atmosphere

Whirling Dervish

By
August 2010

Colorado sits on the western edge of the country's volatile weather zone known as Tornado Alley; come summer, thunderstorms roll up and over the Front Range, pushing severe masses of weather out into the Eastern Plains, sometimes spawning winds that can reach 165 mph. This twister, which hit Baca County in late spring, didn't cause major damage, but Colorado has averaged 60 potentially destructive tornadoes a year for the past decade, 90 percent of which occur east of I-25. Centennial State tornadoes have claimed only a handful of lives since the 1960s, but nationally, tornadoes cause about 60 deaths each year. So through the end of the month, listen for the plaintive wail of those sirens, and keep your eyes to the horizon.