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Landspout near Denver International Airport prompts Tornado Warning

A landspout tornado touched down just west of DIA around 3:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

DENVER — A landspout tornado touched down just west of Denver International Airport on Friday afternoon, leading to significant delays at the airport and a brief Tornado Warning.

The tornado was on the ground between 3:43 and 3:50 p.m. on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. There were no initial reports of injuries or damage.

Credit: Matt Piechota

The tornado appeared to be on the west side of the airport. 

This appeared to be a landspout tornado, which are caused by converging wind boundaries as a storm is developing.

All flights inbound to DIA were being held at their origin until 4:45 p.m. on Friday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware

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What is Severe Weather?

According to the National Weather Service, there are five specific types of weather that can qualify as "severe." They are tornadoes, floods, lightning, hail and wind.

RELATED: What is severe weather?

A thunderstorm is considered severe when winds reach at least 58 mph and/or contains hail at least 1" in diameter. When these conditions are met, the NWS will issue a severe thunderstorm warning.

RELATED: How is hail formed?

Lightning and heavy rain are not included, but often accompany severe thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service will issue a flash flood warning when the flooding is already occurring or imminent. A flash flood watch means that conditions are favorable for a flash flood and those in the area should keep a close watch.

A tornado watch is issued by the NWS when they determine that weather conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes. They usually last for a long time, cover a large area and begin well before any tornadoes or other severe weather begin. 

A tornado warning is issued if a tornado is indicated by radar or reported by weather spotters. They are generally for a much smaller area and only last for about 30 minutes. If a tornado warning is issued in your area, you should seek shelter immediately.

RELATED: What to do in a tornado warning

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