TORNADO: A 3500 Mile Journey through Eight States

On June 24th I headed up a timelapse storm chasing adventure for Alumni of my timelapse photography workshops (TimelapseWorkshops.com). The Adventure took us over 3500 miles in 7 days, and through eight different states including Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. During this trip we saw SOFTBALL sized hail, 4 - 5 tornados, an amazing cumulonimbus cloud mushrooming right in front of us, and incredible thunder and lightning storms.

 

We met up with Tempest Tours in Denver where their team of meteorologists led us on a chase to find the best storm each day for a week. The direction we headed is all based on weather conditions such as wind shear, high dew points, moisture, lift, and instability. Without any one of these variables a tornado cannot form. On day four (June 28) we hit the jackpot while in western Iowa. We were filming a mesocyclone near Stuart, Iowa when a funnel came out of the cloud. Within minutes the funnel touched down, officially becoming a tornado, and was heading directly for us. We hopped into the van and drove a few miles down the road where we got out and filmed the tornado coming toward the road. Eventually a second "rope" tornado formed, and lingered to give us a few minutes to capture it.

 

Later that afternoon we saw another 2 additional tornados, and hail on the side of the road the size of baseballs and softballs. Think about that. In New England it's rare when we get hail at all, and usually it's pea size or at most, quarter size. To see hail the size of softballs was mind blowing.

 

I hope you enjoy watching the film above.   A student film from this trip is also in the works for the fall.