Tiny Kansas town has close call with monster tornado

ROZEL, Kan. (AP) – Residents of a small western Kansas town are shaking their heads at the twist of fate that spared them from a massive tornado.

The EF4 tornado developed out of a thunderstorm near Dodge City on the evening of May 18 and roared northeastward across seven miles of rural Pawnee County.

About a half-dozen farmhouses had minor to major damage as the spun toward Rozel – only to turn sharply to the north just before hitting the community of about 150 people.

The Wichita Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/10WisGI ) that Aaron Johnson, of the National Weather Service in Dodge City, says a direct hit would have destroyed the town.

Rozel did sustain massive damage from a tornado in 1949, but several others since then have skipped over or around it.

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