Colorado weather: NWS confirms that a tornado hit Pikes Peak on Thursday

Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs on Monday, March 3, 2020.

Updated at 4:06 p.m. on July 21, 2023

The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado on the highway leading up to Pikes Peak in Teller County on Thursday.

The agency has rated it an EF1, based on preliminary looks at the damage.

“We saw a couple of images on social media that indicated that there was a lowering or that a funnel cloud was forming and then we had somebody that was driving on the toll road that sent us potential damage from the potential tornado,” said Klint Skelly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

The service issued a tornado warning at about 2 p.m. on Thursday, around the same time that reports of a tornado sighting started happening.

Our original story below.

The agency says it will begin a damage assessment Friday. Final results may be released by Monday. During these assessments, authorities look for ruined buildings or light poles. But because the event happened on the north side of the mountain where there are only trees, Skelly said that could make it a challenge to determine the strength of the potential tornado. 

“We will be able to determine the path of the tornado by doing this damage assessment,” he said. “Higher elevation tornadoes, especially, you know, on Pikes Peak of all places, is one of the more rare events that we get in Colorado weather.”

In recent years, Greenhorn Peak in Pueblo County was also the site of a tornado touchdown, Skelly said.   

“When you get moisture in Colorado, a lot of weird things happen with the weather and we're actually seeing it this year,” he said. “It's been a unique season for sure.”