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Gothenburg, Nebraska tornado 5/29/2004

Dan Robinson

While the rest of us were occupied in Harper County, KS, Concordia, KS and Geary, OK, there was an impressive storm all the way up in Nebraska on May 29 that produced a highly photogenic tornado. The only photos that made the rounds were taken by locals, and I can find no other information on them other than that it occured in Platte, Nebraska.

My main question is, where is Platte? I see North Platte, Platte Center, and Platte County, but 'Platte' is eluding me on map searches, which return the three locations above but not Platte itself. Where was this storm?

The tornado looked like an upside-down cattail - with a thin funnel near cloud base, a narrow translucent funnel from cloud base to almost halfway to ground, and a massive, solid dirt and debris column that rose over halfway to cloud base.

There is one photo (taken by a local) on Gaetan Cormier's site:

There were ~ 23 reported tornados in NE that day. None were in a town or county with “Platteâ€￾ in its name. The story appears to address damage to farm machinery, so I would think it have been reported.
Thanks for the info! Great photos on that page, I hadn't seen those before.

That is one of the more impressive tornadoes of 2004. Very similar to the 5/12 Medicine Lodge/Sharon KS tornado - high-based, narrow funnel, little or no wall cloud, lots of dirt/debris. Amazing that it looks like a nasty wedge at the ground level, then you look up and see this tiny innocent-looking little funnel at cloud base.

I could have sworn I saw a town called Platte while looking at a map in Nebraska this spring, but nevertheless it definately wasn't related to this tornado. I just found a Platte, SD, maybe that is what I'm thinking of. Too many towns/rivers/counties with Platte in their names in that area to keep up with :)
I remember that image of the tornado from the Gothenburg Times. It is one of my all-time favorites. As a chaser, it is somewhat frustrating to see some of the best video/photos taken by locals instead of chasers.

Bill Hark
Hollingshead posted these a while back, but they cannot be posted to much lol, absolutely fantastic shots. Amazing to see that a tornado in rural settings that would otherwise go on-documented is photographed from multiple angles by farmers having camera at hand.