On the second day of my Tornado Alley sojourn, meant to get me in position for subsequent chases, I managed to catch up with a cluster of pretty storms in northwest Kansas. They were, at one time, severe, but when I photographed them in a gorgeous twilight, they were simply prolific lightning producers. I’ll add video later, but for now, click to see some photos from Thursday.
Sometimes social obligations make it hard to chase storms, but a nasty severe storm came to me on Sunday in Rockledge, Florida. I was at a party and went outside to shoot photos of the approaching storm. The lightning became very intense as it neared, so I retreated from the home’s driveway to the alcove at the front door. Note: This is not a safe shelter from lightning, but I felt less exposed there. I shot a little video, then switched to stills, just before a lightning bolt hit a tree just on the other side of the home’s garage. The flash and bang were instantaneous – what storm chasers call a “flang” – and it scared me thoroughly. I was lucky it didn’t hit any closer. Afterward, I got photos of the palm tree that was damaged. There was a hole blasted in its trunk.
Read the full report and see the photos here.
You can tell it’s been a dull storm-chasing season for Tornado Alley, at least so far. Storm chasers on social media are posting a lot of “from the vault” and computer-model-related posts and not much in the way of recent storms.
In the last year – May 2012 to April 2013 – there have been just seven reported tornado-related deaths in the United States, Harold Brooks reports on NOAA’s U.S. Severe Weather Blog. That’s the lowest 12-month number since 1899.
What’s good for the public in terms of gentle weather is pretty dull for weather fanatics – who would prefer to see tornadoes in unpopulated areas – but Italy is picking up the slack. Several tornadoes struck in the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy on May 3, a date that shall go down in infamy in the States as the anniversary of the deadly 1999 outbreak, including the F5 that devastated Moore, Oklahoma.
Here’s an amazing compilation of the May 3, 2013, Italian tornadoes from YouReporter.It:
I’ll be heading out to Tornado Alley soon, I hope. There will likely be interesting storms there this week, but I’m still waiting for a more active period … or I will take my chance on what comes, perhaps as soon as next week.