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.
I chased a severe storm this evening in hopes of catching a little lightning. I got lucky with this shot over Port Canaveral, Florida, with a cruise ship in the foreground. My Tornado Alley chase is on hold (shades of 2012) while the pattern continues to be un-May-like in the Plains. So any storms I get to see in Florida are a bonus. See a few more pictures from tonight’s storm on my Sky Diary site.
Meanwhile, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. I’ve adopted the new layout, which better organizes my videos, and you’ll be able to keep track of my storm chases when I post new ones as I travel.
You’d think, as a freelancer, I’d always have some time to be in the right place during a storm. No – I’m a working stiff, too, and so I was shooting restaurant photos when the funnel clouds/waterspout were reported Friday in Brevard County, Florida. A friend called me to tell me she’d filmed a funnel in the Suntree area, and it was a beauty. Leave it to the storm chaser to miss it …
So after my last assignment, I rushed north to Melbourne to catch the tail end of the storms as they went out to sea. The motion and structure were pretty, but I didn’t see any funnels – just a deceptive feature that was sort of the right shape, but not, as far as I could tell, the real thing. The feature, which appears to consist of condensing scud clouds, is pictured below (at right in photo). At least I got a lucky daytime lightning bolt. I definitely didn’t have “Funnel Vision” on Friday!
The Aug. 15 lightning show in Brevard County, Florida, wasn’t (for me) easy to catch, but I got a few photos that may be of academic interest, if not as artistic as I’d like. There were technical challenges, one being that most of the bolts were embedded in rain. Another was that during the ten minutes they were really good, I was driving and stuck at Cocoa’s many stubborn traffic lights. Nonetheless, you can find the photos here. Above is one of the better ones.
It’s always difficult adjusting to the routine of regular life when I get off the road. Storm chasing embodies freedom for me – the ability to go wherever I wish, according to nature’s whims, to follow the weather. I am totally immersed in my passion. I love being at home, too, but my attentions are fragmented. I have to work to earn a living, acknowledge bills and deal with the drudgery that comes from basic life maintenance. (Though laundry follows me even on the road.) At least Florida offers storms in the summer, although the photo opportunities are more scant than you might think, especially for lightning.
Last night, I headed out in hopes of catching some lightning in a severe storm that was approaching the east-central coast. Most of the bolts seemed buried in rain, and I was preparing myself for disappointment. I decided to give it a few more minutes in case it went into anvil-crawler mode, and I was pleasantly surprised by a handful of spectacular crawlers. See all the photos here. I recommend clicking on the thumbnails and viewing the large images as a slide show so you can see the detail in the bolts.
In the meantime, I’ve updated my 2012 chase reports and photos from Tornado Alley, but I still have a couple of videos to add. In between the obligations of reality, that is.
Sometimes you’re rewarded by playing the marginal setup when it comes to storm chasing. Our group opted out of the 10 percent tornado risk on Thursday, May 24, as issued by the Storm Prediction Center for Wisconsin and environs. We didn’t like the idea of chasing fast-moving storms in the trees up north. Instead, chasing with Dave Lewison, Scott McPartland, Dayna Vettese, Brad Rousseau, and Simon Eng, we headed toward eastern Kansas. After a lot of waiting and hanging out with cows in a sunny meadow in Garnett, Kansas, we were fortunate to catch a late-day storm that was beautifully sculpted and produced tremendous lightning, though it was never severe-warned. See the photos here.
I’ve done almost nothing but drive for the past two days – I’ve made it from Rockledge, Florida, to North Platte, Nebraska. That’s more than 1700 miles. And Tuesday, it looks like I’m headed into the Dakotas for a slight chance of severe storms … but I’m not sure if it’ll be North or South Dakota. It will depend on my sleep, my driving, and of course, my forecast in the morning.
Meanwhile, here’s a quick look at a photo from Sunday. I stopped for several minutes outside Jeanette, Arkansas, and took some lightning photos. I’ll post more later. This is always the problem with all the driving while storm chasing – it’s hard to squeeze in the Internet updates!
I chased storms near home in Brevard County, Florida, on Monday. It was a good way to work out my gear, in hopes that I might actually have a chance to use it in Tornado Alley soon. The pattern in the Plains is not conducive to widespread severe weather, and it appears conditions will remain that way for a while. So … I chased lightning storms, and mostly messy storms, around the Space Coast. There was one nice storm in West Melbourne that had surprisingly interesting structure for a while, along with intense lightning. I’ve featured that storm in a video on a page with photos on my sister site, SkyDiary.com, which is storm-chasing central. See the chase account here.
Let’s start with the literary fun – please stop by the fabulous Coco’s in Cocoa Village on Saturday during the gallery walk. The whole event is fun and free, and at Coco’s (in the Threadneedle Mall next to Ossorio’s), I’ll be signing copies of my novel “Funnel Vision.” Ready for a little storm-chasing adventure? I’ll be there from about 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, I’ve been playing with photos and have created a new gallery/slide show of my lightning photography. Click to check it out!