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Sunday Marks 26 Years Since Memorable Tornado Outbreak In Denver

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Chris Spears By Chris Spears
CBS4 Meteorologist
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DENVER (CBS4) – On June 15, 1988, an outbreak of severe thunderstorms struck metro Denver during the afternoon, producing an unusual number of strong tornadoes.

At one point, people in downtown Denver reported seeing three tornadoes on the ground at the same time.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Two twisters made the biggest headlines during the event.

One was a slow moving F2 tornado that tore a path through a heavily wooded area of northeast Denver, uprooting hundreds of trees.

The twister was filmed by the crew of a local news helicopter as it slowly churned through several blocks over a period of 25 minutes.

The tornado came dangerously close to the old Stapleton Airport, stopping operations and causing the control tower to be evacuated.

The most destructive tornado struck parts of south Denver, causing extensive damage in three different areas, in the vicinity of Broadway and Evans.

In all, 85 buildings were damaged with a total loss estimated to be 5 to 10 million dollars. The tornado was rated F3.

While no one was seriously hurt, there were incredible stories of survival, including a golfer who was thrown 40 feet and a woman who was sucked through a convenience store window while holding a baby.

A man reportedly survived the storm by clinging onto a telephone pole, the winds so strong he lost both of his shoes, a sock and the buttons off his shirt.

At one point, a dog tethered to the ground by a leash was said to have been suspended in mid-air by the tornado’s wind.

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