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A sequence of images showing the birth of a tornado. First, the rotating cloud base lowers. This lowering becomes a funnel, which continues descending while winds build near the surface, kicking up dust and other debris. Finally, the visible funnel extends to the ground, and the tornado begins causing major damage. This tornado, near Dimmitt, Texas, was one of the best-observed violent tornadoes in history.

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Professional storm chaser

The beginnings of a tornado

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Professional storm chaser

Close-range image of a landspout tornado, was captured by Jim Reed in western Kansas on May 8, 2008.

Kansas tornado: A rare close-up of a tornado from within 150 feet. The twister sucks up dirt as it churns across a rural landscape in western Kansas on May 8, 2008.