Rare tornado touches down in Bookcliffs

National Weather Service employee John Kyle was driving back to Grand Junction from Telluride on Tuesday afternoon when he spotted a rare meteorological event in Mesa County: a tornado.

“I looked up and saw a white funnel from the clouds all the way down to the ground,” said Kyle, who shot several pictures of the thin, wispy twister with his cell phone.

The tornado briefly touched down in an open area about a mile west of Mount Garfield around 3:30 p.m., as a turbulent storm system moved north through the Grand Valley, according to the Weather Service. Officials at the Weather Service office at Grand Junction Regional Airport confirmed on radar it was a tornado.

The tornado dissipated quickly, and the storm moved northeast out of the area.

“We’re pretty confident on this” that it was a tornado, hydrologist Bryon Lawrence said. “It didn’t last long, and it was pretty weak.”

The Weather Service said this marked the ninth documented sighting of a tornado in Mesa County since 1950. Kyle spotted the last one, as well, north of Mack in 2005.


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