WESTCLIFFE — People living near Westcliffe in the Wet Mountain Valley were treated to a rare and dangerous sight Monday afternoon, a weak rope tornado.
A funnel cloud was first sighted and reported near Westcliffe by several viewers around 4:35 pm Monday afternoon. The National Weather Service in Pueblo confirmed with News 5 that the funnel did touch down, officially making it a tornado. Damage was reported in the area and a team from the Pueblo NWS branch will be out today doing damage assessments to determine the strength of the tornado.
While it's possible to see tornadoes near the mountains and in mountain valleys, they are much more common across the eastern plains due to the abundance of warmth and moisture, two very important ingredients for tornado development. Even smaller looking rope tornadoes, like the one seen yesterday in Westcliffe, are still dangerous and should be taken seriously.