Traveling north on Hi-way 7 leaving the city limits of Basset Nebraska
there off to our right we could barely make out a large tornado, hidden in a sheet of
rain. It was incredible as it became more visible to us. This tornado was a real monster
and was much larger than the sleek rope tornado we just left. I drove 80 mph to try to
catch up to it as it ate up the open prairie. There were no other cars on the road for
about 6 miles, then we came across storm spotters parked on the side of the road keeping
their eye on the tornado. It was the biggest tornado I had come across this year. The
entire cloud above it was rotating and is very visible in my video of the tornado.
Kyle videotaped the tornado as I drove.
The tornado changed size as it spun along the ground. Sometimes it was many times wider at
the base then others and sometimes it was wider in the middle and top of the funnel. If
you read my book you will get the full feel of what it is like on a chase.
As the tornado continued on through the fields it appeared to be tightening up
and spinning faster. It was getting narrower and slowed in movement. Later we learned the
tornado had just destroyed a family farm. We were also told nothing was left of the family
farm that had been there for many years. Those are words you hate to hear, but it is the
reality of tornadoes, they are dangerous and very destructive. Strong well-built homes are
no match for a tornado as strong as this one, so that is why having a storm shelter is so
important. Make no mistake; tornadoes like this are dangerous and deadly. They not only
are destructive, they also can kill.
At this point it stopped moving for a
minute or so just as it ran into some large grain bins at the edge of the field. People in
town later told us this farmer had just built them so they were new bins. This added
another sad note to this powerful tornado. Chasing may be exciting, but the damage is
Finally it began to pull back into the wall cloud after it destroyed those 3 large steel
grain bins. We turned east down the road to see the bins close up and to examine the
damage. These bins only received the edge of the tornado and did not take a direct
hit. It threw a 50 foot grain auger over 100 yards through the air where it landed on the
power lines directly in front of us. Debris blocked our road now and we were unable to
continue pursuit of the severe storm. We found ourselves in a dangerous location because
the power lines were on the road in front of us, possibly still alive, and debris was
covering the road. There was no way around the debris and power lines so we had to
turn back and return the way we came. Some chasers will drive through farmer's fields, but
we respect the property of others and will not do that, ever. Our chase was over for the
night and it had been very successful. The people in Basset were very kind to us and very
friendly. We talked with several local residents afterwards and they told us what they
knew about the night. There may have been 5 tornadoes on the ground at the same time that
night. I don't think anyone there was injured which was great news. Thanks to the nice
people of Basset for their information and hospitality.