|Wind gusts were blowing
strongly to the south and then begin to change direction before this gustnado forms. As
the wind changes direction it seems to weaken to no wind at all. The dirt appears to be
just hanging there, suspend in the air as if the dirt is just floating, free of gravity.
Then upward movement begins in the floating dirt. More and more dirt is being pulled up
into the air faster and faster, and then it begins to rotate pulling dirt upwards into the
base of the cloud. Within seconds it is a spinning like a top. I have heard from one
expert that in Colorado most of our tornadoes are really gustnadoes. Gustnado or tornado
it didn't matter, it was spinning like a top. While watching this one spinning several
gustnadoes crept towards the city limits of Otis at the same time. Remember there were no
warnings in Otis, so this was catching the city by surprise. I was not surprised, I
expected this to happen. I have seen this type of storm before.
I began to think of the people in the
path of this storm. The story is the same across the United States. My house will never be
hit by a tornado or, unless I hear a warning siren I am not going to take cover. Sadly,
such attitudes have taken the lives of many people who refuse to take severe weather
seriously. Mobile homes are unsafe during high winds in any storm. When severe weather
strikes, the death rate for mobile home residents is 20 times the rate for people in
permanent structures. I was concerned about debris flying at the kids who were outside
minutes before playing. These gustnadoes were spinning intensely and looked impressive.
Another problem developed off to my right. A second ground disturbance formed, this
time a tornado, and it set down north of this one about three miles. It was stronger; more
like a classic tornado funnel and not a gustnado. My attention quickly went to it because
of its intensity. Although the first gustnado (above) began to dissipate as it entered
Otis, the second one was far stronger and the tube went into the clouds above it.
This tornado was wound very tightly and went into the clouds above it. It was much
different than the first one as this one formed a funnel all the way into the cloud above
it. Its tube was shinny about half way up, somewhat like you were looking through a
spinning glass of water. Right above this tornado the video tape caught the edge of the
storm cloud with a sunny area just to the northeast of it. My camera panned up to the cell
above this tornado for an instance and one can clearly see the tornado tube break through
the lower clouds and continure on into the storm cloud leaning slightly to the left. This
was a classic tornado, but very brief and short lived.
Within 4 minutes they both dissipated. I
was glad to see that happen. I started my car and moved on. Back on the chase now I
headed towards Yuma, Colorado. The winds were crazy all around me. In front of me, at my
sides, behind me were all very strong down drafts with small f0 gustnadoes hiding inside
of them. At one point the visibility became near zero and I knew by the dirt's varied
directions there was a tornado or gustnado some place near me. It was like a dust storm,
but the dirt's was going several directions including upwards. I lost sight of the road
for a moment, my car rocked violently and then, off to the south 100 yards or so and just
ahead of me, I could see what was causing the dirt storm.
There to my right, south of hi-way 34 was another twister. It was less than a half of
mile from me at the time I took this photo and about one and a half miles east of
Otis. My car was being pushed around from the winds, first the front of the car was
pushed to the left, then it was being pulled to the right. To the north of hi-way 34 the
visibility was zero from the edge of the road to the north. From the winds around me I am
sure there was another tornado or gustnado behind me. Notice how this tornado bent to the
left as it went up into the very low clouds. It was incredible to watch the rotation at
such a close distance. As you look at the next 3 photos notice how the dust is woven
tightly around the base of the tornado.
This short lived tornado was on the ground for about 4 minutes before
As I continued on to Yuma the clouds began to break up and the threat of tornadoes seemed
to be over.
The last reports I heard about this storm were that it continued to cause wind damage
as it moved into Nebraska.