WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – Wednesday marks five years since the most expensive tornado in Colorado history. The EF3 twister ripped through Windsor in Weld County with winds over 165 miles per hour. That’s 35 miles per hour slower than Monday’s tornado in Oklahoma.

The tornado in Windsor went right over the Windmill Enrichment Center for child day care in the middle of the school day. The images from Oklahoma are particularly painful for the school’s staff to see.

More than 100 children were cowering in a room trying to avoid breaking glass and a tornado swirling around the building. The school’s playground was nearly blown away and cars were tossed around in the parking lot.

Shawna Bruntz is the preschool director. She vividly remembers the day and the parent who came rushing in to alert them.

“’There was a tornado on the hill, you guys need to take cover now,’ “ Bruntz said the parent told them.

Windsor tornado damage on May 22, 2008 (credit: CBS)

Windsor tornado damage on May 22, 2008 (credit: CBS)

Teacher Angie Ruiz was in charge of keeping the toddlers safe that day. She said the Oklahoma storm brought all the memories rushing back.

“It tears me up. It makes me feel good that those teachers are taking care of them, but so sad that those kids have to go through that,” Ruiz said.

Outside her room is a quilt made to recognize the day the tornado hit.

“Way up at the top it says, ‘You survived.’ “

PHOTO GALLERY: Windsor Tornado

Ruiz says her daughter, who was a preschooler at the time, still has nightmares about tornadoes. All the children at the center survived. The Oklahoma devastation has them asking again why they were so lucky.

“I’m thankful that we weren’t hurt,” Bruntz said. “My heart goes out to those families.”

The school in Windsor now holds monthly tornado drills, has backpacks filled with emergency supplies for the children, and has a radio permanently tuned to weather alerts.


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