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15 years ago a tornado ripped through Weld County, destroying 78 homes

It was 15 years ago that a EF3 tornado traveled a 39-mile path from Platteville to Wellington, leaving behind destruction in Windsor.

WINDSOR, Colorado — It's been 15 years since a tornado churned through Windsor and other parts of Weld County.

Packed with wind speeds near 165 miles per hour, the three-quarter-mile wide tornado hit northern Colorado on May 22, 2008.

The EF3 tornado stayed on the ground for nearly 40 minutes, leaving a devastating trail of damage through Weld and Larimer counties.

One person was killed when he tried to escape a trailer park in his motor home. Seventy-eight were injured.

The tornado first touched down northeast of Platteville and finally lifted miles west-northwest of Wellington. The tornado was notable for its north-northwestward path because most tornadoes travel to west to east.  

Credit: National Weather Service
May 22, 2008 Windsor Tornado

FEMA estimated 850 homes were damaged and nearly 300 homes were significantly damaged or destroyed. In total, the tornado left behind an estimated $147 million in damage, making it the costliest tornado in Colorado history.

Much of the destruction occurred at the Missile Silo Park campground, and to businesses and homes in eastern Windsor.

The National Weather Service (NWS) report said the tornado flattened Windsor's main feedlot and a dairy barn where 400 cows were killed in the tornado or killed later. Crops and irrigation equipment were also damaged.

Tractor trailers were flipped along U.S. Highway 85. NWS reported that the tornado overturned 15 railroad cars and destroyed a lumber car on the Great Western Railway of Colorado.

In the 15 years since the tornado, the Windsor has rebuilt and doubled in population.

Credit: 9NEWS
May 22, 2008 Windsor Tornado
Credit: 9NEWS
May 22, 2008 Windsor Tornado
Credit: 9NEWS
May 22, 2008 Windsor Tornado
Credit: 9NEWS
May 22, 2008 Windsor Tornado
Credit: AP Photo/Will Powers
May 22, 2008 Windsor Tornado


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