Tornadoes tear through Colorado, kill at least 1

A state of emergency has been called in Weld County.

WINDSOR, Colo. (AP) — A large tornado ripped through several northern Colorado towns on Thursday, damaging buildings, flipping vehicles and killing at least one person.

The National Weather Service said a large tornado touched down just before noon near Platteville, about 50 miles north of Denver. It then moved northward through or near several towns, tearing the roofs off buildings, downing power lines and crumpling farm equipment.

A second tornado touched down later in near Johnstown, about 10 miles northwest of Platteville, the weather service reported. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Jim Kalina, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said two or three major storm cells affected the area and that the weather service was trying to confirm how many tornadoes touched down.

Windsor, a farm town of about 16,000, appeared hardest hit. Video footage showed a dark gray funnel perhaps a quarter-mile wide near the town with heavy hail and rain. At least one residential neighborhood in Windsor appeared to have suffered heavy damage. Television footage showed several rail tanker cars lying on their sides in downtown Windsor.

Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said a man was killed at a campground west of Greeley. He declined to say how the man was killed.

Nine people were taken to the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland with injuries, said hospital spokesman Gary Kimsey. He said he didn’t know the nature and extent of their injuries.

Splintered wood, mangled metal and other debris cluttered roads, yards and agricultural fields in and around Windsor. Earth-movers rolled into damaged sections of the town to clear debris and utility crews worked to repair downed lines and poles. Residents surveyed damage to their homes; in some areas, one house remained intact.

while another was demolished.

Gov. Bill Ritter declared a state of emergency for Weld County, mobilizing the Colorado National Guard to assist with disaster response. Ritter and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency planned to tour the area by helicopter Thursday night.

All of northeastern Colorado was under a tornado watch through Thursday night, the National Weather Service said.

Meanwhile, National Weather Service meteorologist John Griffith said an apparent tornado touched down in Laramie, Wyo., on Thursday afternoon.

A tornado warning also was issued for an area about 100 miles northeast of Denver, but there were no reported tornadoes. KUSA television reported a funnel cloud was spotted near Longmont, about 30 miles north of Denver, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

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