EADS, Colo. (AP) — At least seven homes and a hog farm were destroyed early Friday after authorities said rare nighttime tornadoes ripped through sparsely populated counties on the southeastern Colorado plains.
State officials say no deaths have been reported, only minor injuries from the twisters reported in Prowers, Kiowa and Bent counties. Preliminary findings indicate five tornadoes touched down.
Officials in the Prowers County city of Lamar said deputies and state troopers spotted a fast and large tornado south of town that ripped through homes.
One home in Bent County and two in Prowers County were destroyed, said state emergency management division spokeswoman Micki Trost. In Kiowa County, four homes and a former church building were damaged or destroyed, said Chris Sorensen of the county sheriff's office.
The damage included one home in Chivington, in Kiowa County, that was totaled after the five people sleeping inside escaped, owner Therisa Brown said. She added there was no warning before her home was demolished.
"We woke up to the roof getting ripped off," Brown said. "We went to the living room, and we lifted a wall off of a friend who was staying with us. That's when the tornado circled back, and it hit the house again. We barely made it into the bathroom."
She said only a few exterior walls remained of her home. A photo from The Denver Post showed the ceiling and walls gone from about half the house, a stove standing in the wide open kitchen.
Chivington does not have its own weather siren, Sorensen said. Kiowa County has used grant money to offer residents low-cost, weather-alert radios, and an estimated 25 to 30 percent of households have those radios, Sorensen said. An automated phone message warning of tornadoes also was sent to landline phones, as well as to mobile phones that were registered to receive the county's alerts, he said.
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