AURORA, Colo. – At least five tornadoes touched down in Colorado on Sunday, with one closing a mall in this Denver suburb where firefighters reported moderate damage and natural gas leaks.
There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.
The National Weather Service said the tornado that damaged Southlands Mall touched down south of Buckley Air Force Base at 1:49 p.m. and may have been on the ground for about 30 minutes, going on an 8- to 10-mile path across southeast Aurora.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning units on the mall roof were damaged, and outside, benches were overturned and a car was on its roof.
Xcel Energy was working with firefighters and the mall to shut down natural gas service. A mall spokeswoman said damage was still being assessed, and no decision had been made on when the mall might reopen.
Julie Patterson, 36, could see the tornado from the back deck of her house in Aurora. "You could see the debris flying in the funnel cloud," she said.
The other tornadoes were reported 6 miles east of Lafayette; one south of Bennett; one south of Deer Trail; and one north of Byers, the National Weather Service said.
Many spots in the Denver area also were pelted with hail, some as big as baseballs. The Weather Service received reports of hail as big as 3 inches in Arapahoe County, meteorologist Robert Koopmeiners said.
Xcel Energy said the storm blew down power lines, leaving about 3,000 customers in parts of Aurora and Centennial without power for about an hour and 40 minutes before service was restored.