Colorado’s most expensive tornado struck 5 years ago

Rachael Plath, Good Morning Colorado Meteorologist/Reporter, r.plath@krdo.com
POSTED: 06:13 PM MDT May 22, 2013 

On May 22, 2008, an EF3 tornado barreled down on the city of Windsor. 

Along the tornado’s 39-mile path, it destroyed 78 homes, damaged thousands of others and took the life of one man.

According to Windsor Mayor John Vazquez, the tornado caused about $198 million in damages. 

“Emotionally and mentally people are still dealing with it.  Certainly as the anniversaries come around, it refreshes a lot of memories,” said Vazquez.

Many told KRDO Newschannel 13 that they sustained extensive damage to their homes and property.  Many said while neighborhoods and businesses have rebuilt, the emotional pain lives on.

“I still to this day, when cloud cover comes over, I get this sort of anxious feeling and it’s five years later,” said Shad Wickstrom, who was taking shelter in the basement, when he lost his entire home to the tornado. 

Despite the hardship Windsor faced, and the residual damage that is still seen around the city, the community said their thoughts are with those dealing with the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma.

“My heart certainly goes out to the people in Oklahoma right now.  I understand a little bit of what they’re going through, for sure,” said Wickstrom.

“It brings back a lot of emotions, I guess, when I see that.  I just pray for them and hope they’re doing good,” said Craig Singleton.

“When you look at what Moore is up against in the loss of such young lives in such a tragic way, hope is hard to come by but it is truly imperative that they keep it and grab onto it where they can,” said Mayor Vazquez.

The tornado that struck Windsor was unique.  While most severe weather in Colorado develops during the afternoon and evening, the Windsor tornado developed just before noon.  The tornado also traveled to the northwest, when most storms travel to the east.  This tornado was also stronger than those typically experienced in Colorado.  It reached an EF3 rating, which means it produced wind speeds between 136-165 mph.  The tornado reached a mile wide during its lifetime.