A confirmed tornado touched down at 2:51 PM Saturday, July 28 near Mt. Evans, Colorado. The estimated elevation where this tornado touched down was near 11,900 feet. This would make this tornado the 2nd highest ever recorded in the U.S.
Here is a brief historical summary of high elevations tornadoes from the Storm Prediction Center......On 7 July 2004, a hiker observed and photographed a tornado at 12,000 feet in Sequoia National Park, California. That probably was the highest elevation tornado observed in the United States. On 21 July 1987, there was a violent (F4 damage) tornado in Wyoming between 8,500 and 10,000 feet in elevation, the highest altitude ever recorded for a violent tornado. There was F3 damage from a tornado at up to 10,800 ft elevation in the Uinta Mountains of Utah on 11 August 1993. While not so lofty in elevation, the Salt Lake City tornado of 11 August 1999 produced F2 damage. Elsewhere, there are probably more high-elevation Western tornadoes occurring than we have known about, just because many areas are so sparsely populated, and they lack the density of spotters and storm chasers as in the Plains.
Below are some pictures of the Mt. Evans tornado and funnel cloud as it lifted Saturday afternoon. Thanks to Chris Kirby for sharing these images.
SPECIAL NOTE: Images below are used by permission and/or permission is required for use outside of the NWS.