Rare Mountain-Top Tornado Touches Down in ColoradoPrint Story Email Story Tweet
On Saturday, the Storm Prediction Center recorded just a single report of a tornado. That tornado, it turns out, is one for the record books.
Mountain-top tornadoes, while not unheard-of, are incredibly rare. Tornado formation is most common in the plains states to the east where warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico surges north and clashes with cooler, drier air from the west and north. While such conditions are not as common in the western United States, occasionally conditions will come together to allow brief spin-ups.
The National Weather Service reports this tornado touched down at an elevation of 11,900 feet, making it the second-highest tornado on record.
The Denver CBS affiliate filed this report:
This tornado ranks second on the list, behind only one other. In 2004, a hiker in Sequoia National Park in California captured this photograph of a tornado at an elevation of 12,000 feet, making that the record-holder for highest elevation tornado ever documented.