12:48 p.m.: A tornado warning in effect until 1 p.m. has been issued for Laird. In addition to a tornado, pea-sized hail is possible for an area east of Wray to the Kansas border.
12:03 p.m.: A tornado warning in effect until 12:30 p.m. has been issued for Hale. In addition to a tornado, quarter-sized hail also is possible.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for eastern Colorado.
The watch issued at 11:20 a.m. covers Cheyenne, Kiowa, Kit Carson and Yuma counties, effective through 6 p.m., along with parts of Kansas and Nebraska, weather service meteorologists said.
On Thursday morning, a tornado may have formed in eastern Colorado near the border with Kansas and skirted the town of Arapahoe in Cheyenne County — which prompted a weather service warning that since has been lifted.
It was unclear whether this tornado touched down on open plains, said weather service meteorologist Kyle Knight, posted in Goodland, Kansas.
“We have not received any reports. If there was a tornado, it would be rain-wrapped, so we’ll have to wait to see if it hit anything. There’s a chance it may have formed, touched down and hit a field, and went back up.”
The weather service radar showed a vortex about five to 10 miles southwest of Arapahoe, population 102, shortly before 11 a.m.
Damage from a tornado depends on the strength and size, and tornadoes in Colorado typically are weaker than those on the Great Plains and the southeastern United States, said Bruno Rodriguez, a weather service meteorologist based in Boulder. “Obviously, if it does reach an urban area, it can cause extensive damage.”
On Wednesday, the weather service issued tornado watches in Colorado as thunderstorms rolled off the mountains onto the high plains. Tornadoes close to Colorado’s urban Front Range appeared less likely Thursday, meteorologists said. A cloudy gray mass of thunderstorms dropping rain in metro Denver and Colorado Springs has raised risks of flooding. The weather service has issued a flood watch effective through Friday.
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