As we made our way back to Denver today, we were able to stop by Aurora, NE to see the damage caused by the EF2 wedge tornado we saw there on Wednesday. We were shocked by the extent of the damage because we never could really grasp how severe the tornado was while we were chasing it:
We drove by that house you see in the first photo right before the tornado touched down. There was a barn there as well. I'm happy to report that the family living in that house, including four kids, escaped unharmed by staying in their basement. Only the edge of the tornado hit the house, but the barn next to it took the full force of the EF2 winds. Only a small pile of red-painted wood debris was left from the barn, which was less than a year old.
Here's the path of the tornado with our route and stopping points (orange dots):
Notice how one of our stopping points, the first orange dot, was right in the path of the tornado at its highest EF2 intensity. We were about 250 yards away from the tornado at this point and you can see how scary that looked in the video I posted on Wednesday.
For a complete survey report from the National Weather Service, click here.
I'm leaving Denver tomorrow to return to Louisville. It's been a thrilling two weeks with tons of supercells, my video of a supercell in Kiowa County, KS airing on Good Morning America, sightings of VORTEX2 and the Tornado Intercept Vehicle, hail covering I-70 east of Denver, and of course my first four tornado sightings on Wednesday near Aurora, NE.
By the way, I also just uploaded the brand-new website for Storm Chasing Adventure Tours at http://stormchasing.com. Even if you can't book a tour with us next year, be sure to get an official Storm Chasing Adventure Tours t-shirt at our store on the website!
It's sad to be leaving Tornado Alley, but I'm also happy to be coming home after two weeks on the road. It's been great chasing this week with our tornado-proof group: