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Twisters spotted in Southeastern Colorado

Twisters spotted in several places; no damage reported.

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COURTESY PHOTO/EDITH WILSON Two tornados touched down in Bent County Thursday. This photo was taken in Bent County in Fort Lyon about seven miles east of Las Animas.

Posted: Friday, April 23, 2010 12:00 am

Tornado sirens sounded across the Lower Arkansas Valley and Southeastern Colorado Thursday as several tornados dropped from the sky over open country.

  Joe Ceru, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo, said at least five tornados touched down in Bent and Kiowa counties.

 Ceru said there were nine reports of tornados that came in to his office but they could have been the same tornados.

 Bent County Sheriff Gary Oyen said he saw three tornados in a blackened sky in eastern Bent County near Hasty by 2:30 p.m. There were other reports of tornados touching down in Kiowa County.

  There were no reports of damage, Oyen said.

  Edith Wilson, who lives in Fort Lyon near Las Animas, said she saw two tornados drop at the same time.

 "The first one came down and we were just watching it. Then a second one came down right across the (Arkansas) River from us," Wilson said.

 Wilson said large hail fell as well.

 "The tornados were far enough away that we didn't get the real bad wind but close enough to frighten me," Wilson said.

  Chris Sorenson, emergency manager in Kiowa County, said a tornado crossed the Bent and Kiowa county line at about 2:15 p.m.

  Several funnel clouds also were spotted in the area, Sorensen said.

  Sorenson said another tornado touched down about three miles west of Eads in Kiowa County.

  School principals in Eads said they took precautions and had students in safe spots.

  The storm moved out of Kiowa County at about 4 p.m.

  "Most of the activity was over sparsely populated lands. There were no reports of damage to structures or any injuries reported," Sorenson said.

  Ceru said there also were two tornados on the ground in Kiowa County at the same time near Colorado 96.

  "It was a very busy afternoon. There also were reports of 1 -inch hail along the storm's path near Las Animas."

Ceru said a storm that went through Haswell in Kiowa County dropped golf ball-sized hail.

   The weather service issued tornado warnings for several counties in the area as the wall of storms crossed county lines in a northeastern direction.

  A tornado watch was in effect for most of the eastern portion of the state.

  Hail and heavy rain fell across the valley.

  A spotter in La Junta said the hail came in fast and moved through town quickly at about 1 p.m.

  Athletes participating in the Lady Tiger Relays in La Junta were held in the commons area of the high school until weather cleared. Schools from Pueblo and Colorado Springs participate in the annual event.

  On Wednesday night a tornado touched down in rural Las Animas County

  There were no injuries reported and no damage.

  According to the weather service, a series of severe thunderstorms moved across the area with one supercell producing a tornado at about 7:09 p.m.

  The weather service reported that the tornado was within the boundaries of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site southeast of Thatcher in a remote, rugged, uninhabited area.

  Other parts of Las Animas County and Huerfano and Otero counties were hit with large hail and strong winds.

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