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Tornado watch issued for southeast Colorado

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Chris Sorensen

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch until 9:00 p.m. Sunday covering multiple counties in southeast Colorado. The watch comes as the risk for severe weather, including large hail and tornados has been increasing Sunday morning.

The watch area includes Yuma, Kit Carson, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lincoln, Prowers, Baca, Las Animas, Bent, Otero, and Crowley counties in Colorado, and stretches in to eastern Kansas and southern Nebraska.

A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form. Be prepared to take immediate action to protect your safety. Tornados could form with little notice.

The risk of severe weather is expected to steadily increase through the early afternoon. Storms had formed over the Raton Pass area by mid-morning, with additional storms moving over Otero, Bent, Baca and Kiowa counties by 11:30 a.m. Those early storms have been capable of producing up to half-inch hail and wind gusts to 40 miles per hour.

The first thunderstorm warning of the day was issued for southwest Baca and southeast Las Animas counties at 12:13 p.m. That storm was expected to bring wind gusts to 60 mph, and half-dollar sized hail.

Tornado Safety Tips

If a tornado warning is issued for your area, consider these safety tips

  • Avoid windows
  • Go to a basement and use a sturdy table or mattress for protection
  • If a basement is not available, go to a central, windowless room on the lowest level
  • Mobile homes / manufactured home are NOT safe, even if tied down – go to a shelter
  • Vehicles are not safe in a tornado – go to a shelter
  • If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a sturdy building if possible – if not available, lie flat on the ground, use your arms to cover your head, and stay far away from trees

This is an evolving weather issue. Check back for updates.