Tornadoes in Denver Can they happen
“Goodness Amy, snow last week, hail this week… when does the sun come out to play?” my good friend Pattilynn asked me who is from one of our very southern states.
So I thought I’d explain Denver. We sit just to the east of the Rocky Mountains. I remember very vividly in the 3rd grade we were learning about hurricanes, tornadoes, clouds and other weather types. Our teacher said we’d never have a tornado in Denver because we are too close to the mountains.
In the 7th grade, I walked three blocks from the bus stop to my house along with a few others. About a block from home, we saw the tornado come out of the sky. We saw roofs and chairs and trees flying through the air. About that time it started raining really hard and Craig’s mom yelled at us to get in their house. They had a big Chow dog and we weren’t normally allowed to go in the house because it was pretty protective, but we went to school together all through elementary and she wasn’t taking no for an answer, it was a direct order, “get in here, now.” Several of us were hiding in the house for at least an hour.
My mom got in the car just before the storm hit and thought she better pick us up, because the rain and hail ware coming. She was frantic looking for us. As the rain and hail took over the air, and hit the ground, it came so fast it didn’t go into the ground at first, it sat on the top of really dry land and it was coming down so fast, it all wouldn’t go down the storm drains because there was just too much water and hail. At one point she sat in the car freaking out with water up to the windows as it flowed down the street like a raging river and then thinking that maybe the school kept all the kids because there wasn’t anyone in the streets. We didn’t have cell phones, the electricity was out because the tornado pulled the wires, so that meant hot wires were all over the neighborhood and the phones were out. The warnings were being aired on the radio, but they were nothing like the warnings on the radio now. After the water started seeping into the ground, via lawns and going down storm drains and the rain and hail stopped people started coming out of their houses, kids were back on the streets, and my mom went back into panic mode.
I don’t remember if there was a transistor radio or if we just left the basement when the rain and hail stopped and when the sun came back out. But I remember starting to walk home but I don’t remember if I walked all the way.
I remember seeing our house, well, not really seeing our house, rather seeing trees, but not our tree because it was all over the ground and it looked like it was in our living room. Debris was all over the yard, the flowers my mom planted were….gone. The grass was covered in hail – it looked like a layer of snow. Once I got up to the house, I realized the tree wasn’t in it, just on it. We waited for Dad to get home. He didn’t even close the door of the car when he pulled up to the curb. He ran up to the house, almost falling as he slipped on the ice, probably thinking the same thing we did-that the tree was in the house and who knew where the family was. As we went outside we saw the panic drain from his face.
Not everyone on our block was so lucky. The house directly behind us lost their roof, others lost patio covers like us, lost patio furniture, lost plants and bikes, had broken windows, etc. We were all lucky. I don’t think we even had any injuries it could have been a lot worse.
We were lucky, there have been so many tragedies with tornadoes all over the country, and it is somewhat unusual for tornadoes to touch down in the middle of the city like it did June 3, 1981, but it can happen and in Denver, we go to the basement when we hear the sirens. Most of us take it seriously.
After the storms hit Denver, the sun comes out and our streets dry quickly. We lose flowers, some grow back bigger and better, and some plants need to be replanted. But the beautiful thing about Denver, whether it is rain, sleet, hail or tornadoes, the sun always comes back. It is rare to have more than a couple days without it.