It Was 100 Years Ago Colorado’s Deadliest Tornado Killed 11 People
One hundred years ago this year (2024), tragedy struck the small, unincorporated hamlet of Thurman in Colorado, forever etching its name into Colorado's history books.
This calamitous event is etched in the annals of Colorado's history as the deadliest tornado to ever sweep through the Centennial State.
100 Years Ago In Colorado
On August 10, 1924, at approximately 2:45 pm, a devastating tornado, later estimated to be an E4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, emerged to the west of southwest Thurman. Weather.gov reports the tornado embarked on a relentless east-northeast track, unleashing its fury upon the unsuspecting community.
According to the National Weather Service, the Enhanced Fujita Scale "...became operational on February 1, 2007, is used to assign a tornado a 'rating' based on estimated wind speeds and related damage." The National Weather Service adds the Enhanced Fujita Scale "...uses three-second gusts estimated at the point of damage based on a judgment of 8 levels of damage."
With the tornado striking Thurman rated at an E4, the town suffered three-second wind gusts of 166 to 200 miles per hour.
11 People Killed
The tornado's path intersected with a local gathering of 27 people at Henry Kuhn's farm, located four miles east of Thurman. The consequences were catastrophic, as ten individuals lost their lives during the immediate aftermath of the tornado. Tragically, another person succumbed to injuries four months later, bringing the total death toll to eleven. Heartbreakingly, nine of the victims were innocent children.
The Tornado's Path
The website Tornado Talk reports the tornado striking Thurman left a path eight miles long. The site adds the tornado had a width of 200 yards.
Where Is Thurman, Colorado?
According to Wikipedia, Thurman, established in 1902, was once a vibrant community with a population that reached 150 at its peak. However, in the wake of the tornado and other factors, the town faced a decline in population, dwindling to a mere shadow of its former self.
The town is located at the intersection of County Roads 3 and CC, nine miles south of Anton, Colorado. Thurman is only 29 miles from Flagler, Colorado, located on I-70.
What Became of the Town?
By the 1970s, the Mennonite population had become intertwined with Thurman's history, contributing to the town's cultural fabric. Thurman persisted as an unincorporated rural hamlet in Washington County, Colorado.
While the town may no longer boast the bustling population of its early years, the memory of the 1924 tornado serves as a poignant reminder of Thurman's resilience in the face of tragedy.
See Colorado's Top 5 Most Destructive Tornados Since 1950
Gallery Credit: Wes Adams
Mesa County Colorado Has Seen 10 Tornadoes Since 1950
Gallery Credit: Wes Adams
Six Crazy Colorado State Weather Records that Still Stand Today
Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams