Rozel – Sanford, KS

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The setup on May 18 presented a classic two-target scenario that is frequently a challenge for chasers. One target was to the north, near the tripple-point in Kansas, the other was south, along the dryline in Oklahoma. I was with Silver Lining, and Roger positioned us between the two targets early in the day so that we could make our final target decision (north or south) closer to go-time.

Finally, by late afternoon, we began to see signs of convective initiation to the north of Dodge City and we made our decision. We blasted north as the first supercell of the day was exploding and becoming dominant, and it didn’t take long for us to begin hearing reports of a large tornado on the ground near Rozel. We got into viewing range to witness the last ten minutes of this tornado’s life.

The Rozel tornado in as it entered its rope-out phase, backlit by the setting sun.

As this tornado dissipated the storm continued eastward and cycled, and we approached the new area of circulation from the south. Just as we reached Sanford, a stunning elephant trunk tornado dropped less than a mile to our east, and for the next 30 minutes we were witness to one of prettiest tornadoes I have ever seen.

Storm chasers, Silver Lining Tours guests, watch and photograph the Sanford tornado on May 18, 2013.

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