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City of Thornton addresses residents’ concerns about tornadoes

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 6:19am MDT
On June 3, 1981 a tornado struck Thornton in what is the worst twister to have struck the Denver metro area. Despite this, Thornton does not have any sort of emergency alert system to warn citizens of tornadoes or other civil disasters.  Image courtesy the City of Thornton archives.

On June 3, 1981 a tornado struck Thornton in what is the worst twister to have struck the Denver metro area. Despite this, Thornton does not have any sort of emergency alert system to warn citizens of tornadoes or other civil disasters. Image courtesy the City of Thornton archives.

As we have discussed before, the City of Thornton is lacking any type of system to alert citizens of severe weather like we have seen recently. In the last week, parts of Thornton have been under Tornado Warnings as funnel clouds circled in the sky and citizens are understandably concerned.

We at ThorntonWeather.com continually remind people that the Denver metro area is at the far western edge of Tornado Alley and funnel clouds, tornadoes, hail and other types of severe weather are not unusual at all. It was 28 years ago last Wednesday in fact that the costliest tornado to ever hit the Denver metro area struck Thornton. Accounts vary but 53 people were injured, at least 25 homes were destroyed and hundreds more damaged.

The danger is real – tornadoes can and do strike in the Thornton area. In some ways it is surprising that the city did not implement some sort of system in the wake of the tornado in 1981. Many municipalities in the metro area do have warning sirens including Denver, Aurora, Englewood, Commerce City and Brighton.

Thornton Mayor Erik Hansen has told ThorntonWeather.com that the city will look at ways to inform citizens when severe weather is imminent. This may take the form of utilizing the reverse 911 system or as we suggested to him, a possible new text alert system that would deliver alerts to citizen’s mobile phones. It is our firm belief that some sort of system to be used not only for severe weather but for other civil disasters is a wise and prudent investment for the city to take.

The Denver area is at the western edge of Tornado Alley and as we have seen historically and in recent days, the danger is real.  Click image for larger view.  Image courtesy NOAA.

The Denver area is at the western edge of Tornado Alley and as we have seen historically and in recent days, the danger is real. Click image for larger view. Image courtesy NOAA.

This week the city posted some tornado safety tips on its website that are worth reviewing. You may also wish to review our Severe Weather 101 series which provides more in depth information on the entire array of spring and summer severe weather (links below).

We will continue our conversations with the city about how they can improve communication with Thornton residents about severe weather and keep you updated as appropriate. If you are so inclined, contact your city council representatives and let them know you want to see Thornton implement an emergency alert system.

ThorntonWeather.com Severe Weather 101 Series

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2 Responses to “City of Thornton addresses residents’ concerns about tornadoes”

  1. Aaron Says:

    I do hope the city will take some sort of measure to keep citizens informed. As the article states, it is surprising the city didn’t take these measures after the 1981 tornado. Will it take another tornado to wake folks up?

  2. Steve-O Says:

    Due to the recent week of severe weather Thornton and the surrounding areas have experienced, I feel it is imperative that the City of Thornton stands up and puts an emergency alert siren in place to warn its’ citizens of impending and dangerous weather conditions. Call you council person or attend a city council meeting to express this very issue.

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