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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.

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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.

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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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