Stunning Photos Capture One of the Highest Tornadoes Ever

By , Meteorologist
August 1, 2012; 8:10 PM ET
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Photos Capture One of the Highest Tornadoes Ever

Storified by Accu Weather · Mon, Jul 30 2012 07:21:07

Photo of Mount Evans, CO, tornado at nearly 12,000 feet. http://pic.twitter.com/hZMxsTayKaren Goodwin
One of the highest tornadoes ever recorded in the world touched down northeast of Mount Evans' summit in Colorado on Saturday July 28, 2012.

The initial storm report released by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) read that the tornado touched down at 12,500 feet. An update on the Denver/Boulder National Weather Service Facebook page said the estimated elevation of the touchdown was 11,900 feet.

The Mount Evans tornado falls 100 feet short of the highest tornado ever witnessed. A hiker spotted a tornado at 12,000 feet in Sequoia National Park in California on July 7, 2004, according to the SPC.

Tornadoes are rare in elevations this high, because the air flow gets disrupted by the terrain.

"This just shows that tornadoes can form anywhere, if the conditions are ripe," AccuWeather Meteorologist Henry Margusity said. A disturbance pushing through with very cold air aloft set the stage for very unstable conditions and the rare tornado.
Tornado touchdown estimated 1.75 miles northeastFacebook
Storm Prediction Center 20120728's Storm ReportsSevere weather, tornado, thunderstorm, fire weather, storm report, tornado watch, severe thunderstorm watch, mesoscale discussion, convec...
Mount Evans, a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado, experienced a tornado on 7/28/12 at nearly 12,000 feet. #Mount Evans http://pic.twitter.com/kW5bo389Karen Goodwin
Tornado reported on Saturday near Mount Evans in Colorado :-O #COWX http://pic.twitter.com/M5B2YJtjPablo Spencer
Mt Evans, Colorado Funnelcekirby
The Original Weather Blog: Tornado Near Mt. Evans, CO on 7/28/12 a New Record High Elevation?A tornado touched down close to Lincoln Lake near Mt. Evans, CO on Saturday afternoon, July 28, 2012. Mt. Evans is located in the Arapaho...

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