Bennington, KS

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May 28 2013 had a ton of potential and the chase target was clear: Salina, Kansas. I was out with Silver Lining Tours, and we sat under blue skies all day waiting for the cap to break. Finally an updraft burst upward just west of the town of Bennington and quickly became a tornadic supercell. We positioned out ahead of the storm to let it come towards us, and it did not take long for a large, cone tornado to form.

The cone tornado became a stovepipe and then a wedge. It experienced multiple downdraft interactions, wrapping in rain and then reemerging from the curtains. We sat in awe watching this absolute monster, which was anchored. It just grew and grew in size as sirens blared from the town behind us, but it was completely anchored in place and so made no progress at all in our direction – or Bennington’s. This was a blessing for the town which would have been in the path of the tornado had it progressed forward.

The tornado was on the ground for 45 minutes before it wrapped in rain for the final time, failing to reemerge. It had been almost completely stationary and, in an extremely rare occurrence, actually did a tight loop in place which meant it crossed it’s own path at one point. Luckily few structures were impacted and the town of Bennington avoided disaster.

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