A tornado struck the city of Holly, Colorado in Prowers County between 7:55 p.m. and 7:57 p.m., March 28th. The final, official Enhanced F (Fujita) Scale of tornado damage is EF3.
For a full explanation of the Enhanced F Scale (Enhanced Fujita Scale), please click HERE.
Several visits occurred to eastern Prowers and Kiowa Counties. A team of four meteorologists from the National Weather Service Office in Pueblo visited the city of Holly and surroundings, arriving early Thursday morning (March 29th), to access the strength of the tornado, and to answer media inquires. On Friday, March 30th, a team of three meteorologists (one from NWS Pueblo, and two from NWS Dodge City, KS) continued the damage survey. On Tuesday, April 3rd, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist from NWS Pueblo revisited the area, and did an extensive survey of the entire tornado track, which was approximately 28 miles long. During the evening of April 3rd the meteorologist in charge and a forecaster from the NWS Pueblo Office made themselves available by attended a town meeting in the city of Holly. The Warning Coordination Meteorologist conducted SKYWARN Weather Spotter training in Prowers County in Lamar (28 miles west of Holly) that evening, which had been scheduled since late February.
The initial tornado touchdown occurred around 1 3/4 miles south of the city of Holly in an open field, and raced northward at over 60 mph. It destroyed a center-pivot irrigation system, then crossed a feed lot, damaging two buildings. The tornado then moved rapidly into the city of Holly.
The most significant damage in the city of Holly was low end EF3. The wind estimate at that particular area on the edge of northeastern Holly is 136 mph to 150 mph. EF0 to EF2 damage occurred across a path ranging from 200 yards to 330 yards wide through the heart of the city of Holly. The damage indicators used were mainly residences, garages, other structures, electrical transmission poles, and hardwood trees. High end EF2 estimated winds speeds range from 125 mph to 135 mph.
The residence (a modular home) that was struck by the low end EF3 tornado in the city of Holly is shown below...
The supercell and tornado raced northward into rural northeast Prowers County, crossing a feed lot just north of town, and then crossing County Road (CR) 35 just north of CR GG. The tornado heavily damaged residences and other structures on CR GG and CR JJ (EF3). The tornado crossed CR RR (which runs west-east), then completely destroyed three large, wooden electrical transmission poles (spaced 370 yards apart). The damage path at this point was estimated to be around 900 yards wide (just over 1/2 mile wide).
The right flank of the tornado then hit a residence approximately 12 miles north of the city of Holly. The final, official Enhanced F (Fujita) Scale of tornado damage of that residence and vehicles was a high end EF3. The wind estimate is from 155 mph to 165 mph. No one was at that location at the time of the tornado.
The residence and vehicles that were struck by the high end EF3 tornado 12 miles north of the city of Holly is shown below...
Here is the path of the Holly tornado (click for larger view, then click back button in browser to return to the story)...
The tornado continued racing almost due north, through extreme eastern Kiowa County, paralleling County Road (CR) 78. The tornado was around 400 yards wide as it crossed CR B, and around 250 yards wide as it crossed CR D. It was less than 100 yards wide as it crossed CR G, and knocked down one electrical transmission pole on CR J and just north of CR L. Just within 3 miles distance from Towner, CO, the track ended, as there was no indication that the circulation was on the ground.
Again...the total track length was approximately 28 miles.
Check back for additional information...such as damage path data and additional photos.