WELD COUNTY, Colorado (CBS4) – National Weather Service experts have ruled the damaged property on Monday was an EF-1 tornado, likely with winds of up to 160 mph. The tornado did not cause injury or loss of life, but it caused significant damage to nearby property in rural parts of southwest Weld County.
“We’re out here today to document the tornado, where did it start and where did it end? What’s the time? How wide was it? How strong was it? “Said Greg Hanson of the National Weather Service.
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Hanson said the debris, combined with patterns seen in damaged crops, helped those who surveyed the area determine the type and strength of the storm.
As the team combed the area looking for evidence to back up its findings, which will ultimately be fed back to historical data, nearby farmers did their best to save their crops.
Farmer Scott Meining told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas that it was important to clear rubble from his country. If dirt gets caught in machines, it can damage the machine, contaminate food, and possibly even kill livestock.
Meining was working on a tractor on his property when the tornado broke near his land. The video first received and broadcast by CBS4, recorded by Meining, showed a massive splash of dirt slowly crawling across the surface for over 30 minutes.
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Meining took cover when trash cans, tool boxes, barrels, and even a kitchen sink fell from the sky.
“If we don’t pick up the garbage, the ditch will pick it up and uproot the corn,” Meining said. “There are a lot of things out here that could really mess up the equipment, not to mention the crops.”
Meining’s properties are currently growing oats and corn. Seeing debris all over the corn field is easier because the seeds have been planted in rows. These pipes then allow the water to flow properly into the dirt.
However, the oatmeal is thicker and closer together. Deposits that are invisible to the naked eye can be dangerous under the roof. Machines could rip it apart, leaving small particles in the feed for cows or products that could be sold for oatmeal.
Meining said he understood why people were so intrigued by the tornado, especially those in the greater Denver area who could see it from afar. However, he said this has created challenges that many without country living may not understand.
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“Some things that are a big issue for us are not noticed by the city’s residents,” said Meining.