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Hiker captures photos of possible tornado in Rocky Mountain National Park

By Mark Puleo, AccuWeather staff writer
July 26, 2019, 4:21:34 AM EDT

Photo taken by Andrew Gagnon

Photo taken by Andrew Gagnon

Photo taken by Andrew Gagnon

What appears to be a tornado, but has yet to be confirmed, developed in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado on Wednesday afternoon as confirmed by photos taken shortly after 12 p.m. MDT on July 24.

The funnel was spotted in the distance, west of Rocky Mountain National Park.

The photos were taken by hiker Andrew Gagnon from the South Arapaho Peak, in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Meteorologist Chris Tomer confirmed to KDVR in Denver that the funnel was indeed a tornado and that the twister was considered a non-supercell landspout or a cold air funnel.

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Mountainous tornadoes are rare and generally weak due to the cooler and more stable air present at higher elevations. In 2013, another small tornado formed in South Park, Colorado, which destroyed numerous RVs and damaged a roof. Previously, a weak tornado had formed in 2012 at the summit of Mount Evans at 11,900 feet.

“The rugged topography of the region will usually disrupt the development of storms that could produce a tornado,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. “But clearly they are possible at some times under the right conditions.”

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