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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.
 

Large Tornado North of Basset on June  5 of 1999   Large Tornado North of Basset on June  5 of 1999    Large Tornado North of Basset on June  5 of 1999

Large Tornado North of Basset on June  5 of 1999As 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 always saddening.

Tornado Damage
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.

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