The blue moon – the full moon on August 20 – was a magical photographic opportunity for me. I was able to shoot a lightning storm with the full moon overhead, from the beautiful vantage point of Cocoa, Florida, looking east over the Indian River Lagoon. I’ve photographed not-so-great shots of the moon with a thunderstorm before, but nothing like this. Better yet, there were multiple shots, though the one shown here is definitely my favorite.
When I’m on the road during my annual storm-chasing trip in May, I try to post as many reports as I can here and on my Sky Diary site. But thousands of miles of driving and serious sleep deprivation often mean that I skip days and have to finish the reports when I get home – especially for the less momentous chases. This week, I finished up those reports in between Florida storms.
The report I posted today is from May 27, the same day Sean Casey got caught in a tornado with his home-brewed tank. The tornadoes were pretty messy that day, and my friends and I took our chances on more isolated storms in central Kansas that didn’t produce more than pretty structure, lightning and lovely light at sunset. If you’ve ever wondered how a typical chase evolves, my video captures the process pretty well. (By “typical,” I mean a chase with no tornadoes – because not every chase ends with a tornado!) See the page with my May 27 photos and video, or watch the video here:
I also posted an “odds and ends” report consisting of select photos from minor storm days and busts, along with pictures of people, sights and more. With it, I included a video of a dust devil chase on May 22 in the Texas Panhandle. It documents a direct hit. I definitely had dust in my teeth afterward. See the page with all the photos and video, or watch the video here:
See all the 2013 storm reports in this index – as I photograph Florida storms, I’ll add more photos and videos.
With the reports done, I’m looking forward to having more time to invest in writing “Zap Bang” – the upcoming third novel in the Storm Seekers Series.
The beaches have been under siege here in Brevard County for the past couple of days as ominous shelf clouds have swept over the sun-worshipers and surfers, harbingers of downpours and lightning close behind. I’ve caught photos in the past couple of days at Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach. In both places, some folks didn’t seem to be in a hurry to escape the lightning danger, which was high. I take a risk, too, when I stand on the beach to shoot a photo, and I’m well aware of it.
Still need a beach read for this summer? My storm-chasing adventures, “Funnel Vision” and “Tornado Pinball,” are just $2.99 as e-books. They’re also in paperback. Check em out. (You can quite literally check them out of the Brevard libraries, too.)
I was lucky to get invited to an Independence Day party on a top floor of a condo overlooking the Indian River Lagoon and Cocoa, Florida’s excellent fireworks display on Thursday. Shooting fireworks is a lot like shooting lightning – you need a tripod and a camera you can put in manual mode so you can hold the shutter open for several seconds. But at least you know approximately where the fireworks are going to be.
Want to see more? Here’s a slide show. Prints are available.
One of the most impressive storms of my Tornado Alley chase didn’t produce a tornado, though it was tornado-warned. That’s because it was spinning like a top. The May 26, 2013, supercell near Arcadia, Nebraska, was LP, or low-precipitation – not much rain, but amazing structure. It also had one of the best lightning shows I’ve ever seen.I’ve already posted photos, but now I’ve added video to the report. Or you can watch the video above.
I’m easing back into life in Florida, where we’re getting a fair share of thunderstorms, at least for the moment. I look for lightning in the evening, and I caught some last night at Port Canaveral. Here’s a sample, but you can check out all the photos from June 18 here.
I’ve been posting chase reports in scattershot fashion. After yesterday’s squall line … not much to see … I posted a report from the May 20 Duncan, Oklahoma, tornado. It was small, and the condensation funnel didn’t extend all the way to the ground, but we had confirmation that the circulation did indeed contact the ground. After we saw it, we saw the radar from the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado and knew we had missed a large and devastating tornado. A lot of the storm chasers (and there are so many these days) were in our target area and missed it, too. Here’s the video, which you can also find on the report page with all the photos.
See all the 2013 reports – they’re growing! One of my favorites so far is from May 26 – a gorgeous, sculpted supercell in Nebraska. Here’s a photo from that day. This storm had both incredible structure and dazzling lightning. Video will come later.
I can’t believe I’ve only been in Tornado Alley for three days. I’m already seriously sleep-deprived, and I haven’t had time to edit any of the video I’ve shot. But I did just post photos from yesterday’s epic chase with friends, from a storm near Ness City, Kansas, to the last two tornadoes from a storm west of Larned, Kansas – both on the ground at once! Check out the photos and report here.
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.
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.
Sunday night, when a tornado-warned storm approached my neighborhood – with lots of attendant lightning – I decided to take a chance and see what I could get. Mostly, I wanted lightning, but the persistent rain made it hard to get a clear shot. However, I found myself in the path of a tornado-warned storm headed for Rockledge, Florida, and according to the radar, I was really in the path. The “hook echo” was pronounced and on track to collide with me. So I watched and photographed the storm with nervous anticipation.
What I saw at the time and in my photos was, shall we say, suspicious. Again, chasing at night, it’s very difficult to see and identify significant features such as funnels and tornadoes, when so-call scud clouds can mimic them easily. Yet the persistent feature in this photo (in several photos, actually) sure looked like a funnel. Was it? Maybe not. See the report and photos, and see what you think.