Tornado damages Colorado house, hail size of “canned ham” reported

This video, via Denver 7, was caught on one of the Viaero network cameras on the Eastern Plains

At least one tornado — and possibly two — touched down in Yuma County on Tuesday evening and churned up debris, causing damage south of Yuma but sparing buildings in the town center, authorities said Wednesday morning.

A vortex ripped the roof off a house south of town with a family inside and leveled outbuildings, City Manager Scott Moore said. The people were rescued, and no injuries were reported. Multiple power lines were torn down, Moore said, adding that he believes two tornadoes may have touched down around 4:50 p.m.

“It would be very complicated to have a tornado such as that hit a city. I was watching and worried. Thankfully we avoided most of the damage in town,” he said. “The family was removed by emergency personnel. No injuries. We are very fortunate. People are moving about as normal.”

Storms in the area dropped hail, including what appears to be a record-large hailstone.

In Yuma’s police department, officials confirmed no major damage in town but said crews were surveying damage south of Yuma.

“We are good here in town. There was damage about a mile south of town. But it did not come through town,” Yuma Police Department administrator Abby Keefe said Wednesday morning.

A tornado touched down at 7:26 p.m. about 8 miles south of Idalia in southern Yuma County, Boulder-based National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Entrekin said. Idalia, with a population of 97, is located 15 miles from Colorado’s border with Kansas in south Yuma County.

In her home in Idalia Tuesday night, school secretary Joni Dutton didn’t notice extreme weather.

“I know that there were some warnings,” Dutton said Wednesday morning. “The hail here was not bad. Some other areas got hit a bit harder.”

A weather service team from the NWS office in Goodland, Kansas, was surveying the tornado path and damage and believes “probably more than one” hit, Goodland-based meteorologist Jerry Killingsworth said. “We don’t have any information back yet. I’ve not heard of lives lost or injuries.”

Yuma County Sheriff Todd Combs on Wednesday morning said no additional damage information was available.

At 7:22 p.m., record hail measuring 5 inches in diameter was reported in the area — “the size of canned hams,” Entrekin said. That will force an adjustment of the NWS measurement scale that compares hail stone diameters to familiar objects.

“It will probably be declared a new record hail size for Colorado,” he said. “ ‘Grapefruit-size’ is the biggest we have on our scale, for hail 4.5 inches in diameter. We don’t have anything for 5 inches. They will have to make a new category.”

During the storms, former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner took cover in his home’s basement and took to social media to advise other residents to do the same.

It was the latest of several tornados that have touched down in Colorado this year. More are possible this summer.

“We’re not out of the severe weather season yet,” Entrekin said. “But chances go lower as we get into August and September.”

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