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Tornado

Norfolk, Nebraska - May 21, 2004

A series of tornadic storms formed in the early evening and we had to decide which one was going to be the best one to intercept. We sat at the side of the road and watched one storm for a long time as it tried to get better organized but it didn't look hopeful. Over the radio we then heard reports of another tornado warned storm to our northeast. we blasted towards it, trying to get into a good viewing position. As we got closer, we noticed that the original storm that we had abandoned was starting to look really good now and at one point we could see the base of both storms at the same time and now both had tornado warnings issued for them.

At that point, our original storm really started coming together and it developed a persistent funnel near the small town of Hadar. I set up my tripod and filmed it as the funnel slowly snaked its way towards the ground. As soon as I saw a debris swirl on the ground, I knew that it had finally become a full fledged tornado. The base of the storm was quite high and it made for a dramatic image seeing the long funnel coming down to meet the rising debris cloud. We eventually had to abandon our position and head south due to the heavy rain which now overtaking us. The tornado dissipated in the rain and we continued on to Norfolk for a well deserved steak dinner.

(It's a tradition among storm chasers that if you see a tornado, you've earned the right to eat a steak that night.)

After reviewing the video of this tornado, I believe that it may have been anticyclonic, spinning clockwise. That would be rare for a tornado in the northern hemisphere. Here is a sped up video clip showing the possible clockwise rotation from right to left.