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Photo by Brian Hansel Sage Houts of Wadena joins Joel Taylor of Tornadovideos.net at the Wadena Business Expo Saturday in the Wadena Elementary gym. Taylor was the expo's featured speaker.

Taylor returns to Wadena

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Joel Taylor grew up in western Oklahoma so he figures he probably saw his first tornado when he was about 3 years old.

He has been looking for them ever since.

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Taylor was in Wadena last Saturday to speak at the Business Expo. It was not his first trip to Wadena. He passed through town on June 17, 2010 in a rather odd-shaped vehicle called the "Dominator."

Taylor was hunting tornadoes that day with his Tornadosvideos.net crew. His tank-like vehicle is equipped with the best storm-chasing technology he can find. It is built to take storm damage.

Taylor's group had spent the night before in Bismarck, N.D. They headed east along with a huge storm front that was periodically dropping funnels to earth.

The storm chasers spotted the Almora-Bluffton tornado first and tracked it. They were just south of Wadena about 5 p.m. when they saw a big EF4 wrap itself in rain and strike the city from the southwest.

Taylor sells real estate in Norman, Okla. but he also cuts video discs for sale. The Wadena tornado did the worst damage he saw that day.

Taylor earned a degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and has picked up many insights about twisters since starting his business.

He knew from the time he got up that Thursday morning that it would be a big day for bad weather and for his kind of business.

"It was obvious that is was going to be a big, big news day," Taylor said.

The licking that Wadena took left hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed and damaged. Taylor's crew was on top of the action and received a lot of notoriety in the days that followed.

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