Warning for tornado came too late

12:29 PM, Mar 31, 2007   |    comments
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Meteorologists initially thought the worst of the weather had moved east of Holly and into Kansas Wednesday evening, explained Tom Magnuson who works out of the NWS office in Pueblo.

At 7:45 p.m. a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, which had been issued for eastern parts of Prowers and Baca counties, was allowed to expire. Magnuson says the storm that had been in Colorado diminished in size to the point where it no longer appeared to be a threat.

Then 12 minutes later (7:57 p.m.) the public first reported seeing a tornado on the ground one mile south of Holly.

At 7:58 p.m. or 7:59 p.m., in Magnuson's estimation, the tornado hopped over the Arkansas River and leaped into Holly.

At 8:01 p.m., the NWS issued a Tornado Warning for the area. By then, the tornado had likely done most of its damage.

Magnuson says NWS personnel have tracked the tornado's path to a lone house about 12 miles north of Holly. He's not sure if the tornado was on the ground that entire distance, but says the damage to that one house was severe.

He says the winds that destroyed that house were likely much stronger than the winds put out by the tornado when it ran into Holly.

People in Holly say they never heard the sirens go off in town. Investigators are looking into the sirens to try and figure out what went wrong.

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